The 2019 Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) tournament came to an end early this month at MUBS, Nakwa grounds.
Eastern region defied odds to win their maiden Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) Boys title following a 3-2 penalties win over last year champions Kampala.
The two sides settled for a barren normal time stalemate before goalkeeper Ashraf Mwabye’s heroics saw him save two spot kicks to guide Eastern region to a 3-2 win.
In the Girls category, Kitara region reclaimed the girls’ national title after overcoming Eastern region in the final.
Cissy Kabarwani’s early strike and Violet Kyererezi late goal were enough to inspire Kitara region to the national ARS Girls championship title defence.
They join Western region (2012, 2013) and Buganda (2015, 2016) as the only sides to have defended the ARS Girls’ championship. Both Girls and Boys champions received Shs7m cash prize each, trophy, medals and kits while the runners up got Shs5m each, silver medals and kits.
There were also individual prizes for outstanding performers. Airtel Uganda Managing Director, VG Somasekhar who graced the final indicated that the telecommunication giants are proud of the success registered and remain committed towards developing talent across the country through the annual tournament.
“As Airtel, we a proud of the journey we have moved so far since the start of the tournament in 2011. We believe this is the best way we can give back to Ugandans for the support they have shown us,” he said.
FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo, who also graced the finals, stated that this (ARS) is a breeding place for talent that will help the federation in achieving their vision of becoming the best nation in Africa.
“The vision of Fufa is to become the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the pitch and through development we can achieve the dream. Development means offering young boys and girls a platform to play at a tender age and thankfully Airtel-Uganda has created the opportunity,” he said.
Commissioner of physical education and sports in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Omara Apita who was the guest of honor representing the State minister for sports Hon. Charles Bakabulindi lauded Airtel for the commendable job in promoting talent.
“Growing the game of football in Uganda has been a long journey and we appreciate Airtel for being part of this journey. With the hard work and consistence exempted in the Airtel Rising Stars, we believe more players will be nurtured in years to come,” noted Apita.
This year was the 7th staging of this U17 Boys and Girls tournament since its inception in 2011.
Many players (Boys and Girls) have been identified from this tournament and end up in top local and foreign clubs as well as national teams.