Arsenal German Defender, Per Mertesacker (2nd Left) and Striker Lukas Podolski (3rd right) pose for a group picture with Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) five most outstanding talents discovered at the just concluded ARS national finals in Lagos. The quintet are to attend an Arsenal Football Clinic later in the year.
Arsenal football club of England has presented to the Nigerian public the five most outstanding youngsters discovered at the just concluded National Finals of the on-going Airtel Rising Stars Season 2 U-17 tournament for boys and girls.
Three senior Arsenal players on a partnership visit to Nigeria namely, Bacari Sagna, Per Merteserker and Lukas Podoski unveiled the youngsters at an exclusive Airtel event held at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The five youngsters are Gift Nevo (Best Goal keeper in the female category), Rafiat Aweda (Golden Boot winner and Most valuable Player, Female category), Ibrahim Benjamin (Best Goal Keeper, Male category), Yakubu Gambo, (Most Valuable Player, Male category) and Bilyaminu Sani (Golden Boot winner, Male Category).
Speaking during the fun-filled presentation ceremony, Olu Akanmu, Chief Marketing Officer of Airtel Nigeria reiterated the commitment of the leading telecoms operator to creating and providing Nigerian youngsters with ample opportunities to succeed in their professional careers and respective endeavours.
“This, indeed, is the best of times for grassroots football in Nigeria. It has always been our dream to create a future for our younger generation. Now, the prospect of this is looking more promising than ever with the ARS, and more so with our new team mates in Arsenal FC.
“Arsenal needs no introduction to us here in Nigeria. Almost every family identifies with her and the beauty she brings to the game. Our partnership reflects very deeply our core values at Airtel which centre on enriching lives and empowering more Nigerians to realize their full potentials. We have also demonstrated this through our line of innovative offerings which have set us aside as the innovation leader in the industry,” he said.
The partnership commits Arsenal to offering technical support to the Airtel Rising Stars pan-African football initiative of Airtel Africa in five countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.
The five Nigerian youngsters will join other selected youngsters across the African continent for a residential Arsenal Coaching Clinic at the instance of Airtel Africa. During the International Coaching Clinic, Arsenal will provide UEFA-certified coaches to assist in providing technical supervision, mentorship, and general football skills development to the youngsters.
Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Tourney is a unique pan African initiative of Airtel Africa designed to provide support for the development of football talents across her African markets. It aims at discovering talented students (male and female) of secondary school age and providing them the opportunity to gain football skills and develop into renowned stars.