A panel of judges from Arsenal and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit have selected eight coaches as finalists for their Future Stars coaching programme.
The eight finalists will now compete in a public vote on www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com for the chance to attend a personalised training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches in London – sponsored by WorldRemit.
Two Ugandans Joan Nabisenke and Bakit Isaac Agogo from Gulu made the cut for a chance to attend the high-level training programme in London sponsored by World Remit.
Bakit started volunteering as a football coach in 2005 and is a firm believer in the power of football to create harmony among young people and help them overcome conflict.
He coaches at Watato Sports Academy in Gulu and has worked with children whose families were affected by the insurgency in Northern Uganda.
If he were to win Future Stars, he would use the opportunity to establish a children’s football league in Gulu and neighbouring South Sudan.
Another Ugandan finalist in the female category is Joan Nabisenke who coaches girls aged six to fifteen living in the rural areas outside Kampala.
Many of the girls she trains are orphans, and she is committed to helping them with their education and supporting them with food and housing through funds donated to the academy.
If she were to win Future Stars, she would use the opportunity to highlight the benefits of getting more women and girls involved in football.
The Future Stars programme was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.
Now in its second edition, the Future Stars programme received over 1,400 online applications this year from across Africa and the Americas.
From these entries, a panel of judges selected 20 semi-finalists to receive Arsenal shirts for their youth team as recognition of their hard work within their communities.
The judging panel then narrowed these 20 semi-finalists down to eight finalist coaches – four male and four female.
Male Future Stars finalists
Bakit Isaac Agogo from Gulu, Uganda
Feisal Abdi Hassan from Nairobi, Kenya
Luis Alejandro Castañeda Vargas from Bogotá, Colombia
Samuel Taylor from Accra, Ghana
Female Future Stars finalists
Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba from Nairobi, Kenya
Chinasa Ukandu from Lagos State, Nigeria
Joan Nabisenke from Kampala, Uganda
Vivian Johana Pirateque Garzón from Bogotá, Colombia
Two winners – one male and one female – will be chosen by a public vote to fly to London for a personalised training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches.
Voting is now open on www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com until 23:59 GMT on 11th November.
Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said: “Our business is all about making it easier for our customers to send money home to support their communities.
“Together with Arsenal, we set up the Future Stars programme to recognise football coaches within these communities who are dedicated to supporting and lifting up others.
“Our eight finalists’ stories are a testament to the transformative impact that football can have on young people. We are delighted to celebrate their success and wish them all the best in the public vote!”
Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, said: “Through our community initiatives in London and abroad, we work hard to promote greater diversity in football and positively impact the lives of young people through sport.
“When developing this year’s Future Stars programme with WorldRemit, it was important for us to highlight the benefits of encouraging more women into the sport, both as players and as coaches. The eight finalists we have chosen all stood out to us due to their passion and commitment to using football to bring young people from all walks of life together.”