After going through the disappointment of failing to fly out to the Pan African Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) football tournament in Gabon last year, the 2014 Airtel Rising Stars will now be smiling all the way to the bank- courtesy of Airtel Malawi, which has dished out K1.6 million in total to be shared amongst the stars.
A total 32 boys and girls identified from last year’s Airtel Rising Stars football tournament were supposed to fly out to Gabon with their two coaches and an official from Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) for the 2014 Pan African ARS tournament but the trip was cancelled at the 11th hour due to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
Mindful of the ordeal the 35-member contingent went through, Airtel Malawi has decided to compensate each of them with MK45,000 (USD $100), making a total of K1.6 million.
Presenting the cheque to Massa at Airtel Head Office in Lilongwe on Friday, July 3, 2015, Airtel Malawi’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Wilson Kyumba said Airtel values the lives of the stars- hence the cancellation of the tournament.
“As future stars of the nation, your lives are more important. The Ebola virus outbreak had to be avoided at all cost considering that the Pan African ARS tournament in Gabon was going to attract over 500 immigrants from all Airtel operating countries, including some West African countries which were badly hit by the Ebola outbreak,” said Kyumba to a group of rising stars, who represented the teams.
During the function, Airtel also presented a K70 million dummy cheque for the 2015 ARS tournament expected to be launched in Salima on Saturday, July 4, 2015.
Speaking after presenting the cheque to Massa General Secretary Blackson Malamula, the head of Airtel Regulatory Affairs said the company was pleased to be associated with the success story of the tournament, now going into its fifth season.
“ARS has been running for the past four years, during which it has recorded a great deal of talent. Some of the stars from ARS have featured in the Malawi national junior football and women football teams
“This is a historical and record amount of money to be injected in the development of under 17 boys’ and girls’ football in the country. We are proud to be the leading investor in sports development in the country,” said Kyumba.
Speaking on behalf of the Malawi schools sports body, Malamula hailed Airtel for compensating the 2014 Rising Stars and raising stakes for this year’s ARS from K65 million to K70 million.
“We are so grateful to Airtel for this gesture. There are a lot of other avenues where this money could have been channelled but you chose the development of our young boys and girls. We will make sure that the money is used for the intended purpose,” said Malamula.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :