Mr. Bhullar kicking the ball to officially kick off Season 3 of Airtel Rising Stars in Rwamagana yesterday. (Courtesy)

Mr. Bhullar kicking the ball to officially kick off Season 3 of Airtel Rising Stars in Rwamagana yesterday. (Courtesy)

The ceremony was attended by former Amavubi forward and current technical director of league side Sunrise FC, Jimmy Mulisa, who was the chief guest.

Addressing guests, Airtel Rwanda Managing Director, Mr. Teddy Bhullar said, ?Our obligation as a company is to involve the community in activities that enable them develop skills and live their dream.?

?Our Airtel Rising Stars initiative is in course with what we wish for the Rwandan youth and we believe that Airtel Rising Stars will equip young talent in Rwanda with what they need to play football professionally as they feed into the national team and other football teams on continental and world level,? he added in statement.

Bhullar noted that, ?We thank FERWAFA for the continued support in realizing our dream for young footballers in Rwanda and for standing by our proposition for yet another year.?

Speaking on behalf of FERWAFA, the federation Technical Director, Antione Rutsindura hailed Airtel for promoting youth football in the country for the past two years and still counting.

He said, ?We are committed to growing grassroots football in Rwanda and it is great to see corporate companies such as Airtel support us in this line. I believe that through this tournament, our young footballers? talent will be nurtured.?

On his part, Amavubi legend, Mulisa promised to stand by the young footballers during this season of Airtel Rising Stars and share his professional knowledge of the game.

Sixty four teams

This year will see 64 teams; 48 boy?s teams and 16 girls? teams selected to take part in the youth competition.

The matches will begin in Kigali next week and will traverse the whole country with boys and girls playing at regional level in various playing fields. FERWAFA scouts will be out to identify talent of the youngsters.

Equal opportunity

Airtel Rising Stars initiative is the biggest Under-17 grassroots tournament in Rwanda and on the African continent that aims to identify talent and nurture upcoming footballers.

It is an equal opportunity initiative that targets boys and girls and has over the years yielded many success stories enabling several upcoming soccer talents to join Africa Premier League clubs and their countries? national teams.

Richard Bishumba, The New Times

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