Airtel Ghana has launched the 4th season of its ambitious soccer talent programme, Airtel Rising Stars (ARS), at a ceremony in Accra, with a call to all leaders to recognise the power of potential.
The call was made by the Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, Lucy Quist, who formally launched the programme.
According to her, Airtel was proud that it was giving other people who have chosen to demonstrate and exercise their sporting activity through football the opportunity to rise on the national level and also go on to make Ghana proud on the global level.
‘One of our stars, Pricilla Okyere, is someone who clearly had the ambition, talent and the drive; all she needed was a platform to exercise her talent to develop and grow. That’s what ARS brought to her and our commitment to ARS has remained sure’, she stated.
According to her, this year’s ARS was going to be more exciting as ever, whereby in conjunction with the Ghana Football Association, young girls and boys from the ages of 13 to 17 years, who are in school, will be selected to participate.
‘We are going across the country in four different zones and we are going to take two of the top teams, one female and one male, who will join us at the regional finals in Gabon in August 2014. This regional finals is again a strong demonstration of how, as Airtel, we take our responsibility of developing potential beyond the shores of Ghana. We are present in 17 countries in Africa, the widest footprint, and we are running ARS in each of our operating countries,’ she said.
On his part, the President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, reiterated the importance of education to footballers, stating that it was easier to manage an educated footballer than one without education. According to him, it was imperative that modern footballers took their education as seriously as they did their footballing career. To this end, he congratulated Airtel Ghana for introducing ARS, which had both football talent and education as its focus.
Mr. Nyantakyi again commended ARS as a worthy investment by Airtel which has started yielding positively, citing Priscilla Okyere, the former captain of the Black Maidens and others who have gone through the programme and are now playing for the country at different division clubs.
The special guest of honour for the programme, Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon. Elvis Ankrah, was full of praise for the ARS initiative, commending especially its uniqueness of being able to go down to the grassroots to identify hidden football talents. ‘Ghana is a football country and for any Abedi Pele or Dede Ayew or Michael Essien, there are a thousand more out there waiting to be discovered’, he added.
This year’s games will involve 4 zones made up of Greater Accra, Volta and Eastern Regions in Zone 1; Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions in Zone 2; Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions in Zone 3; and Central and Western Regions in Zone 4.
Youngsters playing for various colts teams in the various regions would play among themselves and regional teams formed to play in the zonal games.
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