Arsenal Clinic thrills Nigeria’s Airtel Rising Stars

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s contingent to the Arsenal Football Clinic in Accra, Ghana has described the seven-day intensive soccer coaching camp as exciting and a great platform that will enable them improve on their football skills, soccer knowledge and general personality and career development.

Speaking at the clinic yesterday Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Gift Nevo, said the clinic is an eye-opener that has not just improved her abilities as a soccer player but has also deepened her understanding of football matters, also helping her to adopt a more-focused approach to the game.

“It is amazing that I have already learnt so much on the first day of a training that will last for seven days. The atmosphere is electrifying, the facility is great and the coaches from Arsenal have demonstrated immense understanding of the game.

“I am glad to be part of this clinic and I thank Airtel and Arsenal for putting this initiative together. When I go back to my Club, Adex Queen in Nigeria, I’ll teach my team mates some of the techniques I have been learning from this clinic.

Echoing her sentiments, Real Dynamo of Lagos striker Ahweda Rafiat Titilayo said the clinic had changed her orientation about football.

“So far, I have learnt that there is more to the football game. The coaches from Arsenal are good and I am just too happy to be here, she said. Like my team mate, Gift Nevo, I’ll be taking a lot back home and I am sure that one day we will put all these lessons in action, wearing the green white green colour,” she said.

The five youngsters emerged as the most outstanding players at the recently concluded national finals of the Airtel Rising Stars played in July at the Agege Township Stadium, Lagos are featuring in the on-going Arsenal Football Clinic holding in Accra, Ghana from August 27 to September 2, 2012.

The young players include Gift Nevo (Best Goal keeper in the female category), Rafiat Aweda (Golden Boot winner and Most valuable Player, Female category), Ibrahim Benjamin (Best Goal Keeper, Male category), Yakubu Gambo, (Most Valuable Player, Male category) and Bilyaminu Sani (Golden Boot winner, Male Category).

The Arsenal all-football clinic is part of the strategic commercial partnership the renowned club side entered into with Airtel Africa for her five African markets which include Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda.

On the strength of the partnership, Arsenal would offer technical support to the Airtel Rising Stars football development initiative by providing UEFA- trained coaches to assist with training budding talents in each of the five Airtel-Arsenal countries at Arsenal Coaching Clinic for up to 50 footballers.

The Arsenal Clinic is the culmination of regional and national tournaments in 15 countries in the African continent. It is part of the Airtel Rising Stars program, a pan-African soccer talent initiative that is focused on identifying and nurturing soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage.

Touted as the biggest tournament in the continent, the Airtel Rising Stars attracted approximately 18,000 youth teams and 324,000 youth players across 15 countries.  In addition to galvanising the biggest turnout during the championship stages, the program has also broken new ground by introducing girls to a pan African tournament.   

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