Arsenal Legend Tony Adams has launched the third edition of Airtel?s grassroots soccer initiative, Airtel Rising Stars in Accra. Airtel Rising Stars is a sports talent initiative introduced by Airtel that seeks to discover and nurture talented under 17 years male and female footballers who otherwise would have gone unnoticed and untapped. The initiative runs in all Airtel operations across Africa and seeks to bring to light the skills of these young and talented ones by giving them the platform to become world class football stars.
Tony Adams, who played for the Gunners for 22 years and captained them for 14 years was in Ghana to launch ARS as part of Airtel?s partnership with Arsenal which sees the North London club sending in legends in coaches to help bolster the Airtel Rising Stars programme. Tony Adams commended Airtel for the ARS initiative adding that ?you don?t find too many corporate entities invest in football for young players so it is a great initiative by Airtel and I am proud to be a part of Airtel Rising Stars?, he said. Tony Adams added that ?youth football is the way to go; working with FAs to help unearth talents means that a good stream of players are being found at an early age which is good. Arsenal is happy to be involved with the Airtel Rising Stars programme. Just as we did last year, we will send down some of our trusted youth coaches to take talented players through the Airtel Rising Stars Arsenal Soccer Clinic to be held in Lagos, Nigeria?, he said.
Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, Philip Sowah said ?Airtel has over the years emphasized that Airtel Rising Stars will focus on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talents from the grassroots onto the national stage. This we know is a process, and we are happy that the process we chose to embark on is progressing steadily and has already begun yielding results. The story of Priscilla Okyere has been told time and again and we are hopeful that in ARS 3, we will discuss not just another Priscilla Okyere, but several ones in the likes of Sammy Kufuors and Nii Odartey Lampteys thrown in?, he said. He announced that this year?s competition will be organized in two zones with the first zonal games scheduled for May 31 in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region and the second zonal games scheduled for June 14th in Takoradi. The national finals will be held in Accra from June 11th ahead of the Inter-Country tournament and soccer clinic in Lagos from September 4th to 8th and 10th to 14th respectively.
General Secretary of the Ghana Football Association (GFA,) Emmanuel Gyimah, commended Airtel Ghana for continuing with the ARS initiative. He expressed the hope that the partnership with the GFA will continue going forward. He pledged the continuous support of the FA to ARS whiles calling on other corporate bodies to emulate the Airtel Rising Stars example. A representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Steve Mensah, said the Ministry has focused on youth football development and will support the programme. He also called on other corporate businesses to join in supporting sports.? Airtel Rising Stars is organized in the 17 Airtel operations in Africa and is supported by Samsung.