Airtel Malawi on Saturday unveiled 2016 season five of the football tournament, Airtel Rising Stars, at the tune of Mk79.3 million from Mk70 million in 2015.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s season at Luchenza Secondary School in Mulanje District, Airtel Malawi Director of Marketing Emmanuel Kasambala expressed the company’s commitment to continue supporting the youth tournament that has added a lot of value on the face of Malawi football in the past five years.
“We look back with pride and satisfaction as players out of this program are now making great contribution in the national youth football teams”, said Kasambala.
Kasambala said Airtel Rising Stars program is still fulfilling its aim of identifying football talents as witnessed with many faces in the Malawi National team.
He then assured Malawians that it remains the company’s commitment to support the youth in Malawi as well as drive economic growth by unlocking people potential.
“We are excited that the competition is gaining momentum each and every year. This is an inspiration to everyone working to achieve potential and striving to be the best every day,” he said.
“This is the sixth year in a row that Airtel Rising Stars is played in Malawi, starting from the grassroots onto the national stage. The teens’ tournament has become a reliable feeder to the national team,”Kasambala added.
Minister of Sports, Grace Chiumia said government recognizes Airtel’s investment into youth football development program and commended the management of Airtel for their timely move.
“The government is overwhelmed by more pressing social obligations that is why it is unable to properly fund sports activities on its own. We encourage the private sector, instead, to assist and emulate what Airtel is doing,” said Chiumia.
The Minister said the competition also provides an opportunity for Airtel to connect and empower communities through the passion football elicits from fans and the ability of players to learn and earn a living from the sports.
She said it is interesting to see that Airtel is seeking initiatives that create positive community impact from the grassroots to a national level.
“The Airtel Rising Stars program is designed to provide a structured platform for scouts, coaches, football authorities and other partners to tap into a vast pool of upcoming talent, courtesy of the program and build strong soccer talent feeder systems for our league and national teams.
“I commend Airtel Malawi for their initiative to invest in youth football which is the cornerstone for the game’s development. “I truly believe that by placing emphasis on the youth, we will be able to make significant achievements in the near future”, she said.
On his part, Malawi Schools Sports Association (MASSA) President Harris Kachale commended Airtel for the initiative, which is helping in unearthing the youth’s hidden talent.
“As MASSA, we are happy that this project has provided a platform for upcoming soccer talents to showcase their skills and eventually have an opportunity to further their football skills.
“We believe this will help them (the youth) to get the much needed exposure. So we would like to thank Airtel for venturing into sports and football in particular. We pledge our total support to Airtel in its quest of providing support to uplift these stars onto a world stage,” he said.
Kachale said unlike last year when 850 schools registered for the competition, this year 1780 schools have registered for the competition countrywide.
On position one, the winners will pocket Mk2 million while the second shall went away with Mk1.5 million and the third Prize is Mk1.2 million.
SOURCE: Nyasa Times