The chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya has described the Airtel Rising Stars U-17 Tournament as a well-thought out vehicle designed to promote brotherhood among African nations.
Mr. Ogunsanya made this assertion on Sunday in Lagos while speaking at the Welcome Dinner organised by the leading telecommunications operator in honour of the teams and officials to the second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 Africa Championship slated for Lagos between 16 and 22 September, 2013.
According to the Chief Executive, the telecoms company is connecting and uniting the continent through the ARS tournament which is the biggest youth tournament in the whole of Africa.
“The very idea of this competition is quite visionary in nature and revolutionary in scope. Perhaps more than anything else, this competition underscores the imperatives of a united Africa and the values of African brotherhood. Airtel is connecting Africa to her passions and lighting the candles of brotherhood across the continent,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Ogunsanya revealed that the ARS initiative was created to provide a pool of talents for the sustenance of Africa’s great football tradition.
His word, “In setting up a competition of this magnitude, Airtel Africa is calling attention to Africa’s heritage of healthy brotherly rivalry and all the values that once made us a great as a people. ARS came into existence to establish a pool of talents for the sustenance of Africa’s great football tradition.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi commended Airtel Networks for its commitment to revolutionizing sports development in the country.
His words, “I am quite excited that Airtel decided to do it bottom-up. This is the way it should go. Before now, what we had was top-bottom. We were not able to harness the talents available to us, but now, Airtel is changing the face of football development in Africa.”
Meanwhile, in the draws for the matches conducted by a company of ex-internationals Augustine Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Ann Chiejinne, Mercy Akide and Ann Okunwa with support from Lagos FA Chairman, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi and CEO/MD, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya,host Nigeria will on Monday open hostilities in the male and female categories as the first round of group matches get underway at the Agege Township Stadium.
The Nigerian ARS male team will test the might of their counterparts from Democratic Republic of Congo in the first match for Group A while the female team comes up against the Kenyan female team in the first match for Group A.
Port Harcourt from the South Region will be flying the flag of Nigeria in both categories after it emerged victorious over other teams at the National Finals concluded a few weeks back. They are coached by Joseph ‘Zico’ Egbu.
Four match venues have been designated for the ARS Africa Tournament, the biggest in the continent, and these include Agege Township Stadium, Agege, Onikan Stadium, NIS Sports Field and Legacy Pitch, both inside the National Stadium, Surulere.
The opening and closing ceremonies as well as the final matches for both categories have been scheduled to take place at Agege Township Stadium, Agege, while other group matches will be played at the three other centres.
The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 soccer tournament is a unique pan-African initiative of Airtel Africa designed to create a pool of talents to feed the national football teams of African countries.