Airtel Sierra Leone, one of the leading mobile telecommunications company in the country, has partnered with the Manchester United Football Club to organise a national gala so as to identify a rising football star aged 17 to attend a coaching clinic in Gabon and Tanzania under the Manchester United Soccer Schools Program.
RVS Bhullar, Managing Director of Airtel Sierra Leone, said the company wants to create positive engagements with youths across the country by supporting talents and providing platforms for grassroots onto national stage.
He said football has the ability to connect and empower communities through the passion it elicits from fans and the ability of players to learn and eke a living from sports.
He stated that Airtel seeks initiatives that create positive community impact from the grassroots to national level.
RVS Bhullar explained that the Airtel rising stars program is designed to provide a structure platform for scouts, coaches, football authorities and other partners to tap in to a vast pool of upcoming talents.
He promised to work with Youth and Sports Ministry and the Sierra Leone Football Association to integrate the program with local under 17 plans for both girls and boys.
“Airtel remains committed in supporting communities,” Airtel’s Managing Director assured.
Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay, commonly known as ‘Awoko’, on behalf of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) who also doubles as the Chairman of Football Development Committee, said “we are embracing Airtel for sponsorship which has been lacking in the past”.
He said the image of the FA is going to change and called for the due process to be followed and cautioned about the ageing of footballers.
Victor Hastings Spaine, representing the Director of Sports, said the time has come for football to gain its rightful position in the country by identifying potential rising stars in football in the country.
Hon. Nuru Deen Sankoh Yillah, Chairman of the Sports Committee in Parliament, said young talents are going to be developed and frowned at players taking foreign football names.
John Conteh of Kalleone Radio gave a brief overview of the rising stars tournament across the country to be hosted in the four regions which is expected to draw 64 boys and 32 girls’ teams, and that registration is expected to commence on the 18th of July 2011.
Mohamed Kallon formally launched the Airtel Rising Star.
By Saidu Bah