By Sahr Morris Jnr.
Armed with skills perfected by coaches from English Premier League champions, Manchester United, five youngsters who represented the country at the third edition of the Airtel Rising Stars Soccer Clinic in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, have returned home bubbling with optimism.
Fatmata S. Mansaray, Fatmata J. Turay, Binta Barrie, Mamodu Barrie and Hassan J. Kanu were among 70 participants from 13 countries who received training from United Soccer coaches.
According to Airtel’s Ann Marie Jamiru, who headed the delegation to Tanzania, the lads gained lot of experience being in the soccer clinic, adding that it was a great time for them.
She said: “It was a good experience since the kids learnt a lot like dribbling skills, how to defend and attack if one is off the ball. Three of them were even awarded Manchester United certificate for their outstanding performance daily.”
Airtel’s Marketing Director, Apu Das, said the clinic offered youngsters an opportunity to develop their skills at the Manchester United Soccer School. He said they are pleased the boys from Sierra Leone performed well throughout their stay.
Marketing Communications Manager, Mustapha Katta, said the success of Airtel Rising Stars is all down to team work and collective responsibility, including the media. He said one of the fulfillments of ARS is when they at Airtel see the young kids excel.
“We believe in creating the platform for the kids. We want you all to watch out for season four which we will introduce with a difference,” Katta said.
One of the players, Fatamata Turay, said she felt good to be part of the clinic, adding that due to ARS she was able to feature in the U-20 and the U-17 team.
The five-day training which came to a climax on last Sunday had participants from Sierra Leone, Malawi, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Niger, Madagascar, Gabon, Seychelles and host Tanzania.
The annual soccer clinic organised for youngsters from across Africa gives the upcoming players opportunity to develop their skills under the United Soccer Schools curriculum which intends to produce well balanced soccer players.
Meanwhile, winner of the Airtel ‘Catch Am Big’ promotion, Tom Gibao Lahai was presented with an air-ticket and per-diem as he headed for Old Trafford to witness the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Hull City.