Former Manchester United striker, Andrew Cole, yesterday launched soccer talent search initiative known as Airtel Rising Star in Dar es Salaam.
The soccer talent launch is a partnership between Airtel and 19-times Manchester United Football Club to identify and nurture young football talent in the Tanzania.
Speaking at the launch held at the Makongo Secondary School in Dar es Salaam Airtel Tanzania CEO Sam Elangallor said the project will help many secondary school students to learn more skills and techniques.
Elangallor also said through the project many young players will have an opportunity of playing professional football as they will have opportunities to meet football agents and coachers who will be following their development.
He further said football has potential of uniting people hence his company involvement in the development of the game at grassroots level in the country.
He said under the program his company would work with Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) for a period of three months.
Twelve schools from Dar es Salaam and one each from Mwanza, Arusha and Kilimanjaro will set up a camp, before the best 40 players will join the final camp at Manchester United Soccer Schools which will involve other players from the 12 African countries where similar projects are taking place.
Elangallor could not name the local secondary schools which will be involved saying they are still looking at some logistics’ before making announcement.
“This project will be a platform for scouts and managers to get the talents they want and it will also see many young players realising their dreams of playing professional. We will help our youths by working together with Manchester United and TFF”, he said.
On his remarks, Cole said it’s a great honor for him to launch the program in Africa. He believes that through the program the world will see the emergence of top football stars.
“It’s a great honor to be here and obviously it is going to be a great partnership that I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, we are going to find another Andy Cole out there who would join Manchester United and score many more goals”, he said.
The Deputy Minister for Information, Culture and Sports Fenella Mukangara said the programme is in accordance with the government’s initiative of promoting sports in the country. She assured the gathering that the government will do everything possible to see that the program lives to its expectations.
She thanked Manchester United Football Club and Airtel for the project, saying talent identification and development is a challenge to most of the stakeholders.
Launching of the progamme gives more challenge to the government and the sports sector to make sure that it is sustained.
“We in the government thinks the program has come at a right time and as a right dossier that will facilitate the empowerment of young people for their talents development and enhanced sports performance as a whole”, she said.