The 2018 Airtel Rising Stars championship was a great success with regional qualifiers across the country and grand finals as well Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

2018 Airtel Rising Stars national U-17 championships (Grand Finals):

  • Boys: Kampala 1 (5) – 1 (4) Buganda
  • Girls: Kitara 0 (4) – 0 (2) Western
[/media-credit] The 2018 Airtel Rising Stars championship was a great success with regional qualifiers across the country and grand finals as well Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

Following the successful completion of the different regional qualifiers across the country, the grand finals of the 2018 Airtel Rising Stars U-17 championships were held over the weekend at the Buhinga and Seminary grounds in Fort Portal, Western Uganda.

By the close of business for the four day championships, Kampala and Kitara had won the boys and girls national titles respectively.

This was the fourth time that Kampala region was smiling on the podium as winners, having won the inaugural edition held in 2011, 2012, 2013 and lately 2018.

For Kitara region, who won the girls’ final, after overcoming Western region 4-2 in post-match penalties, this was their maiden girls victory at national level.

[/media-credit] Action between the derby of Kampala and Buganda in the boys’ final at Buhinga play ground Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

Both of the final games determined via post match penalties after stalemates in normal time.

Hassan Nsubuga, Emmanuel Iga, Hamza Bukenya, Brian Kasirye and Derrick Tenywa were all on target for Kampala with only Joel Wassajja missing.

Buganda’s goals were scored by Julius “Gugugaga” Kintu, Isa Bugembe, Trevis Mutyaba and Godfrey Matovu.

Muhammed Nsereko and Mc Donald Bbuule’s efforts were saved.

[/media-credit] Kitara region girls team celebrate with their trophy Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS
[/media-credit] Kampala Region players celebrate with their trophy and winners’ gold medals Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

For the girls, Komuntale, Kunihira, Imelda Kasemere and Violet Kyerezzi were all on target for Kitara region in the shoot-out as only Elizabeth Apereza and Adellah Ayine scored for Western region.

Despite the rains towards the end of the boy’s final, the huge crowds braved the harsh weather to witness the climax that witnessed the King of Toro Kingdom Rukirabasaija Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV  decorate the team players with medals, hand over dummy cheques and the trophies as well.

[/media-credit] Kitara (red) and Western regions tussled out in the girls’ final. Kitara won 4-2 in the shoot out Credit:

FUFA, was ably represented by the Chief Executive Officer, Edgar Watson who praised Airtel Uganda Limited for this partnership;

We thank Airtel Uganda for this partnership to develop youth football. We can see the fruits as Farouk Miya and Fazila Ikwaput,  true products from this programme.

Airtel Uganda’s Managing Director, V.G Somasekhar narrated the success script for this tournament as he congratulated the winners as well.

The Airtel Rising Stars Tournament, first launched 8 years ago, is an initiative by Airtel Uganda. It was aimed at identifying and elevating football talent in Uganda. It is a demonstration of Airtel’s long-standing commitment to promote the game from the grassroots to the national team. Today marked the end of an exciting journey as we wrapped up the 2018 Airtel Rising Stars tournament at the Buhinga Stadium in Fort Portal town. Congratulations to this year’s winners; the boys’ team from Kampala Region and the girls’ team from Kitara Region. You did great

Airtel Uganda Top Brass officials led by the M.D graced the grand finals Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS
L-R: Busoga Kingdom sports minister Amin Bbosa, Airtel Uganda M.D V.G Somaekhar, Toro Kingdom prime minister and the Toro Kingdom king Oyo Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

Prizes:

Champions (Kitara and Kampala region) were rewarded with a cash reward of Shs 5M each, winners gold medals, certificates of merit and a trophy.

The first runners up (Western and Buganda regions) also got a Shs 3M cash prize each, silver medals, certificates and a trophy as well.

Individual performers:

Northern region’s Khalid Djemba Djemba was the best goalkeeper among the boys while Western region’s Leticia Natasha was the girls’ best goalkeeper.

Margaret Kunihira (Kitara region) emerged as the tournament top scorer among the girls with 7goals and Kampala’s Emmanuel Iga scored three goals.

Most Valuable Player (MVP):

Buganda region’s midfielder Muhammed Nsereko and Eastern’s Esther Namataka were the male and female most valuable respective players.

Music star Eddie Kenzo arrives at Buhinga play ground, Fort Portal Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

There was a great musical performance by the Airtel Uganda Brand Ambassador, Edrisa “Eddy Kenzo” Musuuza as he thrilled the hundreds of fans with his lively songs.

A select team on 25 per players per gender was picked out by the technical team and recommended to FUFA for development.

Some of these players will be recommended to clubs as well as the national U-17 team that will play at the 2019 AFCON U-17 finals in Tanzania.

Telecommunications giants Airtel Uganda Limited have effortlessly bank rolled this tournament in partnership with the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) since 2011.

Individual Accolades:

Boys:

  • Best Goalkeeper – Khalid Jemba (Northern)
  • Top scorer – Emmanuel Iga (Kampala) – 3 Goals
  • Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Muhammed Nsereko (Buganda)

Girls:

  • Best Goalkeeper – Leticia Natasha (Western)
  • Top scorer – Margaret Kunihira (Kitara) – 7 Goals
  • Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Esther Namataka (Eastern)

All Winners:

2011:

  • Boys: Kampala
  • Girls: Kampala

2012:

  • Boys: Kampala
  • Girls: Western

2013:

  • Boys: Kampala
  • Girls: Western

2014:

  • Boys: Kitara
  • Girls: Kampala

2015:

  • Boys: Kitara
  • Girls: Buganda

2016:

  • Boys: Northern
  • Girls: Buganda

2017: Not Held

2018:

  • Boys: Kampala
  • Girls: Kitara

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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