Lagos - Robert Pires, the former French legend, will attend the ongoing Airtel Rising Stars African Championship, which kicked off in Lagos on Monday.
Organisers of the tournament confirmed the retired footballer, decorated at club and national team level, is among several sports personalities lined up to attend Africa’s biggest Under-17 grassroots tournament.
Pires is best known for his time with English side Arsenal with whom he won three FA Cups and two FA Premier Leagues.
A former France international, Pires earned 79 caps between 1996 and 2004 for his country, including winning both the 1998 FIFA world Cup and the UEFA Euro 2000.
“His presence will galvanise, without a doubt, the young players who aspire to have a career similar to his,” Airtel stated.
Meanwhile, the second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars African Championship resumed on Monday at the Agege Township Stadium.
The Airtel Rising Stars U-17 soccer tournament is a unique pan-African initiative of Airtel Africa designed to create a pool of talents to feed the national football teams of African countries.
"Through this tournament, Airtel gives the opportunity to many underprivileged children to achieve their dreams. The tournament provides the perfect platform for them to exhibit their skills in front of millions of people”, says Segun Ogunsanya, the Chief Executive for Airtel Nigeria.
He added: “Thanks to Airtel, many players took the plane for the first time in their lives and they are really excited to compete against the best players on the continent. For one week, these aspiring footballers will live and an amazing adventure and they will cherish these memories forever".
The Airtel Rising Stars Africa Championships will take place until Sunday.
The best players of the tournament will participate in football clinics under the supervision of the best coaches of the Arsenal FC and Manchester United soccer schools. The clinics will be held in April 2014 in Lagos and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
– CAJ News