Airtel football talent hunt back in Malawi

Airtel Malawi is this year again running the ambitious soccer talent programme that focuses on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.

The program dubbed – Airtel Rising Stars – will be supported in Malalwi by one of the
world’s leading soccer teams, Manchester United of England.

Commenting on this year’s debut, Airtel Malawi Managing Director, Saulos Chilima said: “This season’s tournament is in line with the promotion dubbed Bola Kunthazi which Airtel is  currently running.”

He added: “Football has the ability to connect and empower communities through the passion it elicits from fans and the ability of players to learn and earn a living from the sport”.

Namalimwe CDSS represented Malawi in Airtel women football last year
Namalimwe CDSS represented Malawi in Airtel women football last year

The Airtel Rising Stars is an Africa-wide program that provides a platform for upcoming soccer talent under the age of 17 to showcase their skills to leading scouts and coaches and have an opportunity to further their football skills.

The initiative targets both boys and girls across the country.

The program will be organized in the format of regional tournaments culminating in a national finals slated for June 15, 2013.

The two finalist teams will then compete in the Airtel Rising Stars African Championships in Nigeria from 2nd-8th September, and there after, 2 girls and 2 boys will attend a soccer clinic in DRC under the tutelage of the Manchester United Soccer Schools coaching staff.

Chilima explained that Airtel seeks initiatives that create positive community impact from the grassroots to a national level.

“The Airtel rising stars program is designed to help football authorities and other partners to tap into a vast pool of upcoming talent and build strong soccer talent feeder systems for our league
and national teams”.

Chilima added that  Airtel will work very closely with Ministries of Youth Development, sports and culture;  plus that of Education  to integrate the program with local under 17 plans for both girls and

Last year, Malawi participated in the African Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, which was contested by teams in all countries that Airtel operates in and was represented by Joyce Banda Foundation
(boys) and Namalimwe CDSS girls.

The champions in season 2 were Niger in the boys category and Ghana emerged winners in the girls category.

The partnership with Manchester United is part of a four year sponsorship and mobile content agreement signed two years ago that allows select Airtel operations to tap into the football club’s deep reservoir of technical resources and sports marketing expertise.

Manchester United under the aegis of its soccer schools banner – Manchester United – provide technical support during the football
camps planned at the end of the regional and national tournaments.

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