Masindi was treated to a rare touch of talent when teams competed in the Airtel Rising Stars regional tournament in the Kitara and Western regions. The games were played at different stadiums in Masindi with the finals being held at St. George Stadium, Masindi.
The competitions took place on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th of August with Masindi Young (boys from Kitara region), Mpanga SS (girls from Kitara region) and Kisoro Young Simba (boys from western region), Sentah College (girls from western region) emerging as the regions’ champions.
From the Kitara region, Masindi Young defeated Kiryandongo Young to take home the boys’ trophy and cash prize of UGX 1,000,000 while Mpanga SS defeated Create Peace and Leadership Soccer Academy in Penalty shootouts and also took home the girls’ trophy and cash prize of UGX 1,000,000.
From the western region, Kisoro Young Simba defeated Welden SS to take home the boys’ trophy and cash prize of UGX 1,000,000 while Sentah College defeated Fucam Academy also in Penalty shootouts and took home the girls’ trophy and cash prize of UGX 1,000,000.
The boys and girls that exhibited remarkable talent were selected from the different regional teams to represent their regions in the national championships in October. Airtel Rising Stars national finals will take place in Mbarara where the different regional winners will battle it out for the bragging rights of being the champions of the country.
The Airtel Rising Stars initiative, the biggest Under-17 grassroots tournament on the African continent, aims at identifying talent and nurturing upcoming footballers. This is one of the few football equal opportunity initiatives that targets boys and girls. Over the years, the Airtel Rising Stars initiative has yielded many success stories and has enabled several upcoming soccer talents to join Africa Premier League clubs and their countries’ national teams.
The selected players get an opportunity to get the best-in-class sports training, during residential clinics that have over the years, been held by some of Arsenal FC’s legends. Airtel has played a major role in the nurturing of remarkable talents and in Uganda there is an abundance of talent that is waiting to be nurtured.
Speaking at the games, Airtel Uganda Brands Assets and Properties manager, Noela Byuma, said; “Airtel is dedicated to nurturing young talent through the Under 17 grassroots football initiative that enables us to reach out to the youth. It is our desire to see young people live their dream and soccer is one of our major platforms in doing so .This soccer tournament provides this opportunity to the youngsters and creates a great opportunity for the players to engage more in the game.”
Airtel, currently the largest supporter of youth football on the continent, has partnered with FUFA to ensure that football regulations are followed.