Airtel Rising Stars to produce more Olunga’s as program launched
Upcoming talents will be unveiled in the this year’s sixth edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) program that was launched on Wednesday, June 29th by Telco giant Airtel in conjunction with the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA).
The stars search kicks off during this year’s KSSSA term 2B games regional finals that will be held across the eight regions from 6th to 17th July, 2016 with the national finals slated for August 1st – 6th in Kisumu.
“This is one of the biggest sports competitions in Kenya concerning the youth, our team will identify talents, as we aspire to move them to the next level of their careers,” said Adil El Youssefi, Airtel Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the launch of the ARS program at the Upper Hill School in Nairobi.
“We believe in providing them with necessary tools to not only empower them, but provide a platform to contribute positively to the development of this country,” the official added.
Jared Obiero, the Ministry of Education representative officially launched the program calling on local clubs and football Authorities to seek ways and means to support the vast pool of talent that continues to be identified from the grassroots to national level.
He also stated that they are in the process of modifying the curriculum to cater for education, vocational and talent aspects.
ARS has over the years identified talent that has gone on to grace the national stage, most notably Harambee Stars defender Erick Marcelo Ouma, who also plays for Kenya Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia, as well as Michael Olunga, who won the KPL Player of the Year Award for his exploits with Gor Mahia in 2015 before switching to play professional football in Sweden.
Also featured in the previous editions was Mwanahalima Adam “Dogo”, a student at St. John’s Kaloleni, who was essential in the Harambee Starlets team which made history by qualifying for the women’s Africa Cup of Nation’s finals set to take place later this year.
Passenga Boys from Aberdare region and Wiyeta Girls from Nzoia region are last year’s ARS secondary schools Term Two ‘B’ national winners. Passenga beat Metropolitan’s Region Laiser Hill 1-0 in a hard-fought boys’ final while Wiyeta edged Kobala Girls from Lake Region 1-0 in the girls’ final to be crowned the new champions.
This year’s regions include Metropolitan (formerly NBI Province), Northern region (Garissa), Aberdare (Central), Coastal region (Shanzu), Nzoia region (western), Mau (Rift Valley), Lake region (Nyanza) and Highlands (Eastern- at Kangaru High School in Embu).
Report by Edward Mokuah
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