Rivalry was renewed as Zambia was pitted against Ghana in Group B of the 2013 Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) Africa Under-17 boys and girls soccer championship that kicked off yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria, where the winners will pocket $10,000.
According to the fixtures released by Airtel, the Zambia boy’s team will kick off the campaign for honours in the competition that ends on September 22 with a match against Sierra Leone today before shifting attention to Tanzania tomorrow, with the crunch match against Ghana set for Thursday.
The women’s team kick-start their title chase against Burkina Faso today before playing Ghana tomorrow and wrap up Group C fixtures with a tie against Chad on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Zambian teams were the first to arrive in Nigeria on Friday for the week-long soccer tournament with several sports personalities, including Robert Pires, attending Africa’s biggest tournament.
Pire’s presence will galvanise the young players who aspire to have a career similar to his.
A statement from Airtel said that the Ghanaian teams jetted into the country a few hours later after Zambia while the players from Niger, the defending champions in the male category, landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja on Saturday afternoon, along with the team from Congo Brazzaville.
Chief executive for Airtel Nigeria Segun Ogunsanya said the tournament gives the opportunity to many underprivileged children to achieve their dreams by providing the perfect platform for them to exhibit their skills in front of millions of people.
The best players of the tournament will participate in football clinics under the supervision of the best coaches of the Arsenal and Manchester United soccer schools.
The clinics will be held in April 2014 in Lagos and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.