Eastern region went against all odds to claim their first-ever title in the boys’ category of the Airtel Rising Stars championship.

A spirited performance in the final on Saturday saw Eastern Region defeat defending champions Kampala in a closely contested encounter played at Makerere University Business School (MUBS) to emerge winners of the 2019 edition.

Normal time ended in a barren draw but goalkeeper Ashraf Mwabye’s heroics saw him save two kicks from the spot to guide Eastern region to a 3-2 win.

Mwabye saved John Lwomwa and Shugai Kalisa’s efforts while James Kaye fired wide. It is only Carlos Kaddu and Jeremaya Jabera that scored for Kampala.

For Eastern region, Moses Epwoka, Phillip Bunga and Phillip Wandawa converted their kicks while Alex Akankwasa and Robert Madoi missed.

How Eastern region became champions?

Eastern region needed miracles to progress from Group A where they needed to pray for North East to defeat West Nile in the final group game.

A 3-1 loss to Kampala region in the last group game meant Eastern ended with four points. West Nile who had two points needed just victory against bottom-placed North East who did not have any point.

However, West Nile were stunned losing the game to North East 2-0 a result that eventually played in Eastern Region’s favor.

In the semifinal, Eastern Region was initially supposed to play Northern who had topped Group B but the latter was eliminated for using ineligible players and thus Kitara who had finished third in the group were called upon to face Eastern.

Eastern made light work of Kitara winning the game 3-1 thanks to hat-trick from striker Bashir Wandawa to qualify for the final.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director, VG Somasekhar, who graced the final indicated the telecommunication giants are proud of the success registered in the last eight years the tournament has been held and promised more commitment towards developing talent across the country through the annual tournament.

“AS Airtel we a proud of the journey we have moved so far since the start of the tournament in 2011. We believe this is the best way we can give back to Ugandans for the support they have shown us and we promise to commit more support towards this tournament,” he said.

FUFA President Moses Magogo stated that this is a breeding place for talent that will help the federation in achieving their vision of becoming the best nation in Africa.

“The vision of FUFA is to become the number one footballing nation in Africa on and off the pitch and through development, we can achieve the dream. Development means offering young boys and girls a platform to play at a tender age and thankfully Airtel has created the opportunity.”

Commissioner of physical education and sports in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Omara Apitta who represented Minster Charles Bakkabulindi lauded Airtel for the commendable job in promoting talent.

“Growing the game of football in Uganda has been a long journey and we appreciate Airtel for being part of this journey. With the hard work and consistency exempted in the Airtel Rising Stars, we believe more players will be nurtured in years to come.”

Kitara reclaimed the girls’ trophy defeating Eastern region 2-0 in the final thanks to goals from Cissy Kabarwani and Mary Kabucureezi.

The winners both in the girls’ and boy’s category walked away with a cash prize of seven million shillings, trophies, gold medals and sets of jerseys while the runners up got five million shillings, medals and a set of jerseys.

Since its inception in 2011, Airtel Rising Stars tournament has produced several players such as Farouk Miya, Muhammad Shaban, Allan Okello, Hasifa Nassuna and Juliet Nalukenge among others.

Winners

  • Eastern – Boys
  • Kitara – Girls

Individual Awards

Most Valuable Players

  • Girls – Ruth Nyakato (Kitara)
  • Boys – Shugai Kalisa (Kampala)

Top scorers

  • Girls – Beatrice Adokore (Eastern) – 3goals
  • Boys – Jeremaya Jabera (Kampala) -5 goals

Best goalkeepers

  • Patience Nambuya – Eastern
  • Mwabye Ashraf – Eastern

Past 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

2019

  • Boys: Eastern
  • Girls: Kitara

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