25/07/2011 15:34,
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Reds launch Airtel Rising Stars

United legend Andrew Cole was in Kenya earlier this summer to launch Airtel Rising Stars, an ambitious football talent search across 16 African countries.

While Kenya is perhaps best known in the sporting world for its athletics prowess, the population have a greater passion for football, including the English league. Kenyan fans were therefore greatly excited to meet Cole on his visit to their country.

The former Reds goalscorer and now club ambassador kicked off his visit to Kenya by appearing on a popular morning radio programme; he then attended the Airtel Rising Stars launch at one of Nairobi's leading high schools, Upper Hill School, which has been earmarked as one of the eight centres of soccer excellence in Kenya. Upper Hill has already produced some of the best and well known soccer stars in Kenya, including Macdonald Mariga of Inter Milan and his brother Victor Wanyama now at Celtic.

Speaking at the school, Cole said: "I'm here for the launch of a new programme Airtel Rising Stars that gives an opportunity to young talent to get into football.

"A primary and secondary school sports programme like the one we are witnessing in Nairobi helped Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez to come through in Mexico. Programmes like this can help you realise your potential in football."

After the launch event, Cole took part in a coaching session for the school’s soccer team - a great thrill for the young Kenyan players to practise with one of the most respected strikers in the English game.

A memorable trip ended with dinner at the world-famous Carnivore Restaurant where Cole was offered a wide range of exotic game meat not usually found on the menu in Manchester! There was also time for another high-profile media appearance, on

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