After three months of pulsating action, the 2014 edition of Airtel Rising Stars concluded on Monday with Kitara region taking top honours at Buhinga grounds in Fort Portal, writes Elly Kyeyune.
Faizal Bola’s first half strike was the difference as Kitara overcame Kampala 1-0 in the final. The tournament is specially organized for youngsters below the age of 17 and traversed the five regions of the country namely Arua, Luweero, Mbale, Masindi and Kampala.
The colourful finale was presided over by Tooro’s King Oyo and he was delighted that the winning team came from his region. With the triumph, Kitara took home the top prize of Shs 5m while Kampala region received Shs 3m for finishing runners-up.
It was the first time for Kitara to take the title and their coach Gilbert Nyaika was quick to acknowledge the sponsors. “Much as it is a great achievement to win the tournament, it wouldn’t have been possible without Airtel’s facilitation.”
On the other hand, Kampala skipper Michael Lutaaya, who rattled the upright with a free-kick before Kitara’s winner, was left to rue missed chances.
“Conceding the goal in the first half unsettled us… So, we were simply reduced to chasing the game in the second half,” said the Standard High School student.
Interestingly, the final was played out by 20 players after both teams had a player fail the MRI scan test, which is a standard test to curb age-cheating. In the girls’ category, Kampala region gained some much-needed pride when they defeated Western region 1-0.
At the end of the tournament, a team of coaches selected 31 players from more than 500 that took part. The lucky youngsters will later this month camp for training at Njeru technical centre before selecting a final team to represent Uganda at the Airtel Rising Stars African tournament to be held in Gabon in August.
Source : The Observer