Airtel Rising Stars II Launched
4/25/2012 7:31:10 PM -
The second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) competition, a unique U-17 football tournament created by Airtel Ghana, has been launched in Accra.
Coming on the heels of the huge success of the maiden edition exactly a year ago, the second edition is an improvement of the first one.
Airtel will pay ¢100 instead of $50 for each goal that would be scored in the entire competition, and the proceeds would be donated to two under privileged schools in the country.
Additionally, instead of six players that traveled to South Africa for excelling, the entire teams of the male and their female counterparts that emerge winners would be flown to Nairobi in Kenya for an inter country tourney.
A supporting sponsor, Samsung Electronics, West Africa Ltd has come on board and its Managing Director in Ghana Bangryong Kim has pledged his company's support of other sporting disciplines in the future.
The zones for this year's talent hunt exercise has been reduced from five to two- Northern Zone comprising Kumasi, Sunyani and the three northern regions and the southern Zone made up of Cape Coast, Western, Volta, Eastern and Tema.
The Managing Director of Airtel Ghana Philip Sowah stated that his company's focus is on youth development. He revealed that Airtel and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) share the common ideal of marrying education and soccer.
'We at Airtel consider education and soccer as bedfellows. Education is key to us that is why we ensured that all participants are in school, so we could raise brighter talents,' he said.
He expressed the hope that the ambitious soccer talent program would produce players that would feed the various national teams in the country.
Already, the overall best male player in the first edition Daniel Abaa is a national U-17 prospect while his female counterpart, Priscilla Okyere is the captain of the female national U-17 side Black Maidens.
The president of the GFA Kwasi Nyantakyi said that the ARS concept falls in tandem with the FA's ideals, hence the consummation between the two last year.
'Combining soccer and education is the best thing we can do for the youth,' said the FA president.
He pointed out that the talents that would be identified at the end of the exercise would be camped for two years in Prampram at the academy.
The Director General of the National Sports Authority Wolanyo Agra, who stood in for the Minister of Youth and Sports praised the organizers for the concept and promised them tax rebates when the need arises.
A total of 78 goals were scored in the maiden edition which amounted to ¢3,900, and in fulfillment of its promise, Airtel topped it up and made a¢5,000 cash donation to the New Horizon Special School, Dzorwulu.
They also presented 25 bunk beds with 50 mattresses to the Wa School for the Blind.
Nii Odartey Lamptey, 1991 world best youth footballer and Sammy Osei Kuffour, Africa's most decorated player, remain the competition's icons.
By Kofi Owusu Aduonum