Sport Yaya Toure to grace this year’s Airtel Rising Stars games

Yaya Toure to grace this year’s Airtel Rising Stars games

Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure

Four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure will grace this year’s edition of the Airtel Rising Stars Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) National Term 2B Games, set for Machakos from August 4 to 9.

The Manchester City midfielder, who was last week named Airtel Africa‘s brand ambassador for its upcoming campaign, will be making his third visit to the country this year.

Last week, the Ivory Coast skipper was in Mombasa in his capacity as the United Nations Environmental Program (Unep) Goodwill Ambassador, a role he has played since October 2013.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at Upper Hill School at the launch of this year’s edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS), an under-17 boys’ and girls’ nationwide football talent search, a partnership between Airtel Kenya and the KSSSA.

The winning boys’ and girls’ team will then take part in a continental under-17 championship set to be held later in the year.

The star search will begin at the county level before moving to the regional level, and will finally culminate on the national stage in Machakos, where the winners from the eight regions will do battle for the crown.

Kakamega High School’s Green Commandoes are the boys’ national champions after edging out Kisumu Day High School in last year’s final, while Butere Girls were crowned the football queens after edging out St John’s Kaloleni.

This year’s games received a huge boost when the mobile phone service provider gave Sh12.5 million to sponsor the event that has given rise to a number of footballers, including Kenyan international and Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga, who was in attendance.

The striker, who played for former national champions Upper Hill School, lauded the program and called on school heads to allow boys and girls to participate in the event.

“I am a product of this talent search and it gave me a platform to be seen and to be able to showcase my skills. I want to urge boys and girls to follow their dreams and play football because it will take them places,” the striker said.

For his part, KSSSA chairman David Ngugi praised the initiative for “making the standards of football better” in the country.

Airtel CEO Adil El Youssefi challenged the winners of the national event who will take part in the African under-17 championship to return with the trophy.