The Lagos State Government has assured of its support and commitment to the upcoming Airtel Rising Stars African Championship, a grassroots soccer initiative involving over 18,000 boys and girls representing 16 African countries.
Speaking during a visit by Airtel officials to his office at the Teslim Balogun Sporting Complex, Surulere, Lagos, the Lagos State Commissioner of Sports, Wahid Enitan-Oshodi, assured that the State has committed to the initiative, saying top officials of the government are ready to play host to the rest of Africa.
“The Airtel Rising Stars African Championship is an international event and we have committed to it. Airtel is an international brand, a good corporate citizen with strong governance structure and we will be there to provide the needed support for the international event,” he said.
The Airtel Rising Stars African Championship is a 7-day long tournament, which will kick-off on Monday, September 16 and end on Sunday, September 22.
During the period, tournament matches will be played at Agege Township Stadium, Onikan Stadium and Yaba College of Technology.
Countries that will feature in the tournament include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Gabon.
Others are Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia.
Also speaking during the visit, the Director of Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, said the company is committed to partnering with the Lagos State Governmei creating more empowerment opportunities for youths across the State, adding that the Airtel Rising Stars programme is designed to transform talented youngsters into superstars.
Oparah also disclosed that the tournament will be attended by top government officials led by the Honourable Minister for Sports, Bolaji Abdulahi who will personally perform the official kick off of the tournament.
According to him, other dignitaries expected at the continental football tournament for boys and girls are Chairmen of Senate and House Committees on Sports, leading ex-internationals, as well as 16 Ambassadors from the 16 visiting African countries, among others.
Those present during the courtesy visit include: Obinna Aniche, General Manager: Brand Assets, Airtel Nigeria; Babatunde Soyemi, Senior Manager, Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Lagos Region, Airtel Nigeria; Tunji Adeyinka, Managing Director, Connect Marketing Services and Erhumu Bayagbon, Media Relations Manager, Airtel Nigeria.
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 soccer teams of African countries.
It is also intended to discover male and female soccer talents and effectively nurture and guide them into finding fulfillment in carving out a career path in football.