The first Arsenal FC-run soccer clinic for talented youngsters selected from the Airtel Rising Stars has ended successfully in Accra, Ghana. The clinic was graced by the presence of Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour. The week-long clinic was managed by two UEFA-licensed coaches was attended by 41 boys and girls from Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Paul Sevier, one of the coaches from Arsenal, said he has been impressed by the standards, commitment and general commitment of the players: “I have said before that if I had to pick a team of players to play a semi or even professional team from Africa, I would not look beyond these players; they are talented, their technique is wonderful and they are ever so ready to listen and to learn. We have been privileged to have met these boys and girls and to have trained them”. On his part, Robert Grant, also from Arsenal FC said he believes that if the players keep up with their training, discipline and committed to the game, “then we should see them leading their respective countries into glory in the Olympics and other championships”.
Over the past week the players have learnt to ‘play the Arsenal way’ and have been put through drills on passing, dribbling, turning, shooting and control as well as lecture sessions on nutrition, what it takes to be a professional footballer, etc.
Arsenal legend Ray Parlour who was in Accra as part of the Airtel Rising Stars clinic said he has been totally impressed with the organization of the Airtel Rising Stars programme. He said he has played with African players at Arsenal, notably Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria and Cameroun’s Lauren and he believes that the Airtel Rising Stars will serve as a good platform to nurture and grow many African Stars. “We saw the lads play this afternoon and you could tell that they had learnt the Arsenal way of playing albeit within just a week and they were applying it beautifully on the field of play”, he said. He commended Airtel for the initiative and lauded the Ghanaian organizers for putting together a good clinic.
Mrinal Roy, Chief Operating Officer of Airtel Ghana said “we are happy that the partnership with Arsenal is starting off on such a good note with a very successful clinic”. He added that Airtel’s desire to give back to her communities and to help nurture the next generation of African football superstars will be pursued going into the future.
The following players were recognized for being exceptional in different facets of their training; Kegawe Kapota (Zambia) and Rita Darko (Ghana) for passing; Ernest Mwankumah and Elizabeth Ephraim (both Ghana) for dribbling; Albert Katiwali (Zambia) and Florence Dzokli (Ghana) for Turning; Nasiru Nurudeen (Ghana) and Winnie Barbire for shooting; Longsan Mbewe (Zambia) and Ernestina Tetteh (Ghana) for control. Daniel Appiah (Ghana) and Ronaold Omara (Uganda) were jointly adjudged the best players for the boys whiles Mawusi Gbenyo was adjudged the best female player.