Players of the Central Regional Boys team which won the Zone Three Airtel Rising Stars competition say they were inspired by the Black Stars performance against Germany at the 2014 World Cup.
The Black Stars drew 2-2 with a highly fancied Germany in a game that Ghana could have won last Saturday in Forta Leza, Brazil.
“My boys were inspired by the Black Stars performance. When they saw how Ghana played against Germany and the chances the players created on the world stage, they felt they should try and be like them,” coach of the Central Regional team A which won the zone’s Airtel Rising Stars by a 2-0 score line in the final said.
“In my team, we have players like Kojo Asamoah, Dede Ayew, Asamoah Gyan and Kevin Prince Boateng. One of the players came up to me and said he was dreaming of playing at the World Cup and that Airtel Rising Stars was the perfect stage to start. No wonder he scored a goal today,” Coach Nana Prah continued.
“Even me, I felt proud and inspired by Kwesi Appiah. Here is a Ghanaian coach doing well at the World Cup. Why can’t I get there some day? So I am so happy we won,” he added.
Central Region’s dominance over Western Region, the other half of the zone was evident in how the Cape Coasters went home with gold medals in the girls’ category as well as silver in the boys.
Central Region also had more than half of the zonal team selection which heads to Sunyani for the national finals from July 10th to July 13th.
After the national championships, a select Airtel Rising Stars team will be picked for camping to participate in the Africa Airtel Rising Stars tournament to be played in Gabon August.
Soccer legend Ibrahim Sunday Gibrine, the first player to be named African footballer of the year in 1970 is spearheading the search for Ghana’s future stars with award winning former Black Stars coach, Nana Akwasi Afranie. Both football personalities endorsed the Cape Coast Airtel Rising Stars games as one of the most talent-ful competitions they have witnessed in the country.
“The level here is very high. The talent is unbelievable and with a few days in camp, these players can beat any player in their age category on the continent,” said Nana Afranie.
Ibrahim Sunday Gibrine told both the boys and girls winning teams to strive to get to the top because they have enough talent to play for Ghana’s national teams.
“All it takes is hard work and belief. With Airtel Rising Stars at your doorstep, you have been given a big chance to make a career out of football. If you keep your head up and work towards success every day, the world cannot deny you what is yours,” the former Kotoko and Black Stars coach cautioned.
Airtel Rising Stars is a global initiative by telecommunication giants Bharti Airtel to discover the world’s best talented football players and to help guide their careers to the top of world football.
Ghana have already benefitted immensely from Airtel Rising Stars. Priscilla Okyere, the captain of Ghana’s Under 17 women’s football team which won bronze medal at the world Juvenile championships in Azerbaijan in 2012 is a product of Airtel Rising Stars. About five players of the current Black Maidens team which played at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica are also from Airtel Rising Stars.