Kitara and Buganda regions are champions of the day
King Oyo headlines the championship finals
Season seven of the annual Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) national U-17 football tournament for boys and girls officially came to a close yesterday.
The championship finals tournament had seven regions (Kampala, Buganda, North East, Easter, Western, West Nile and Kitara) competing for the coveted prize.
Graced by His Majesty, Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, King Oyo, the final games saw Kitara Region beating Western region to take home the accolade in the girls’ category and Kampala Region defeating Buganda to emerge victors in the boys’ category.
In his remarks which were delivered by the Kingdom’s Prime Minister, King Oyo lauded Airtel Uganda for its unmatched commitment to the development of football in the country. He noted that this was the second time he had presided over the tournament’s final game, the first time being in 2014.
He also applauded all the players who participated in this year’s games – cautioning them to take full advantage of the new opportunities that came with being part of the talent scouting and development program.
Airtel Uganda’s Managing Director V.G Somasekhar echoed the telecom company’s long-term commitment to nurturing and harnessing local football talent on an annual basis through its various tournaments. Addressing spectators at the game, he spoke of Airtel’s vast sports sponsorships which range from the National Sports football team to regional and finally grassroots programs.
“We are proud of our sports heritage that has grown in size and impact over the years. Our strategy is to create a system which feeds into itself; including identification, recruitment development and finally placement. We are proud of all the participants in this year’s tournament and we wish them the very best in their endeavors,” he said adding that this is a way of giving back to the country.
Federation of Uganda Football Association Chief Executive Officer Edgar Watson, expressed the association’s regard for its partnership with Airtel which he said spanned across several years and programs.
“On behalf of FUFA President Moses Magogo, I extend the organization’s gratitude to the dedication it has shown in supporting the growth of football in Uganda. As a result of this dedication, we have witnessed the emergence of some of the top players in the country and we are hopeful that the continuation of this trend will take the quality of Ugandan football to the global scene.”
The games were also attended by FUFA Executive Committee member Chris Kalibala, Uganda Crested Cranes trainer Oliver Mbekeka, FUFA delegates as well as Airtel Uganda officials.
Airtel Rising Stars is an Airtel initiative which aims to develop grassroots football by discovering talented youngsters across Africa and providing them the opportunity to evolve and acquire new football skills and develop into notable soccer talents.
The top performing teams this year received a cash reward of UGX 5,000,000 each in addition to gold medals, certificates of merit and a trophy. The runners up took home UGX3,000,000 in cash prizes, silver medals, certificates and trophies.
This year, 25 of the top male and female players will be drafted into various national-level and local football teams.