Season Six of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) National U-17 football tournament officially came to a close over the weekend at UTC play grounds in Lira district. Open to both boys and girls, the tournament featured sixteen teams from eight regions around the country competing to take the coveted national championships trophy home.

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The boys’ finals saw Northern region outclass Buganda region selected players when they scored two goals as soon as the first half kicked off. The own goal from Buganda region’s Musa Jjagwe gave Northern region an early lead. Not even Karim Byaruhanga’s second half goal could save Buganda region who eventually lost 2 – 1 to the Northern select players.

Buganda region’s consolation came in the girls’ category when their selected team defeated Eastern region girls 1 – 0 to defend their title. The only goal of the game was scored by Josephine Ndagire in the first half.

Speaking at the end of the tournament, Airtel Uganda Public Relations Officer Faith Bugonzi said the ARS platform, over the past five seasons, has been a medium of talent discovery for young stars, some of whom have gone on to play for different clubs in Uganda as well as the national team.

“For the last six years, Airtel Uganda, through the Airtel Rising Stars U-17 boys’ and girls’ football programme, has remained focused to the goal of developing grassroots talent and we are committed to carrying on this programme for many more years,” she said.

The FUFA Vice President and Chief Guest, Mr Justus Mugisha lauded Airtel Uganda for this great initiative.

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“I would like to thank Airtel Uganda for not being self-centred with their sponsorship. Many sponsors come to us and only want to sponsor the Uganda Cranes but Airtel Uganda has proven to be the number one supporter of football in Uganda by sponsoring the beautiful game from the grass roots all the way to the top,” he stated before advising the youngsters to front discipline above anything else for chances of prosperity in their respective careers.

The winners of the national tournament walked away with trophies, certificates, balls, kits and a cash prize of UGX 5,000,000 each. The first runners-up also took home trophies, certificates, and a cash prize of UGX 3,000,000 each.

Buganda region’s Tom Kakaire and Rashida Nankya were named ARS season six male and female MVPs respectively. They each took home a brand new mobile phone courtesy of Airtel Uganda.

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