The registration of boys and girls who participated in the open camp preliminary screening exercise of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 football tournament has been successful, hence the commencement of the fifth edition of the regional championships in Abuja, PH and Lagos.
The tournament, an initiative of leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria, has been providing support for the development of football talents across Nigeria since 2011.
It is aimed at discovering talented youths (male and female) of secondary school age and providing them with the opportunity to gain football skills and develop into renowned stars
The Regional Championships for the North, which commenced on July 30 at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja will continue till August 1, 2015, while the South Championships will be held at Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt between August 6 and 8.
Thereafter, Lagos will host the last leg of the regional championship at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, between August 14 and 16.
The three cities will serve as regional centres for 14 states. Abuja region will feature players from the FCT, Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto while Lagos region will have participants from Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo States. Port Harcourt region will play host to teams from Imo, Rivers, Enugu, Akwa-Ibom and Anambra states
This phase of the tournament is very significant as it provides a platform for the tournament’s technical advisers, leading grassroots coaches, YSFON officials and media partners to screen the registered participants and select the team of 15 boys and 15 girls who will represent the region at the national finals in Lagos.
Also, as part of efforts to deepen the technical depth of the annual football tournament, ex-internationals Jonathan Akpoborie, Mutiu Adepoju and Ann Chiejine who are serving as technical advisers for the tournament, will be at the regional championships to offer technical support and advisory services to the youngsters.
The championships will run in a league format from which the regional representatives to the national finals will emerge. Each of the three regions will produce a male and female team comprising 15 players each for the national championship slated for Lagos late August.
By Patrick Aigbokhan