Residents of Gulu and surrounding areas were treated to an exciting display of talent over the weekend as youth teams from the North and West Nile regions congregated at Prisons P7 Primary School Playground to take part in the Airtel Uganda Rising Stars North and West Nile regional games.
The games that took place from Friday to Sunday ended in a bitter sweet moment for Northern based Kitgum Rwot Ker as their boys’ team defeated FFG 1 – nil and their girls’ team lost to National Youth FC 2 – nil. From West Nile, Yumbe heroes defeated Yumbe Golden Generation 2 – nil in an exciting derby finale while FHL Simba girls’ team beat Paidha Girls Football Team from 1-0.
Each of the winning teams received trophies, certificates, balls, branded uniforms and a cash prize of UGX 1,000,000 each whilst the second runners-up received UGX 500,000 each.
Addressing the residents and players at the games, Airtel Uganda’s Regional Business Manager for Northern Region Wycliff Asiimwe thanked the participating teams for working hard and encouraged them to keep working hard for next year’s tournament.
Asiimwe also thanked Gulu Municipality officials for the good security and facilities throughout the three-day tournament.
“Through this tournament, we are according Ugandan youth an opportunity to better their lives and their communities through playing non discriminative football. We have already seen success over the years and we hope to nurture more talented players in the future,” he noted.
The Gulu Municipal Sports Officer and Guest of Honor Mr. Robert Okot applauded Airtel Uganda for its consistency and dedication to the country-wide advancement of football. He further appealed to the telco to sponsor smaller clubs within the region as they “have a history of successfully funding sports in Uganda.”
The Airtel Rising Stars program started in 2001 with the aim of developing grassroots football by encouraging and nurturing the youths’ football skills and providing them with the opportunity to evolve and acquire new football techniques that will turn them into distinguished soccer talents.
The next regional qualifiers will take place in Bushenyi with the finals taking place in Fort Portal soon after.