GULU – Wednesday morning, the Airtel team led by V.G Somasekhar, the Managing Director and invited guests are at Peace Stadium, Gulu to officially launch the eight season of the Airtel Rising Stars initiative.
“Since the inception of this youth grassroots tournament, we have deliberately invested more and more in the development of football talent across Uganda. Today, our sponsorships vary from youth to local leagues, cultural tournaments such as Masaza Cup and finally to the national team the Uganda Cranes,” said Somasekhar.
Unlike other years, this launch is one of the 14 launch events happening concurrently at Airtel Money branch shops in different districts across Uganda.
Indrajeet Kumar, the Marketing Director shares a recap of Airtel Rising Stars thanked the telecommunication for the initiative saying that it has opportunities to several youths in the country.
“Since 2011, the Airtel Rising Stars grassroots football tournament has given talented boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 an opportunity to compete against fellow youth from across the country with hopes of being scouted to join the local league, football clubs all over the world and the Uganda national team. Today, the tournament boasts of players such as Farouk Miya, Kezron Kizito, Allan Okello to mention but a few,” said Mr. Kumar.
Hajji Zubairi Galiwango, the Vice Chairman of the Uganda National Sports Council said at the launch “When Airtel took over the sponsorship of the Uganda national team, they promised to continue developing this beautiful game – a promise that they have kept up to today. In fact, this tournament continues to be a great contributor to the football stars of today and is producing a steady stream of talent to incorporate into our national football team.”
George Labejja, the Mayor of Gulu Municipality thanked Airtel Uganda for choosing Gulu to host the launch of this tournament and assured them (organisers) of security and cooperation.
“Over the years, Gulu has grown into a very vibrant community with new infrastructure cropping up in all corners. Gulu is no stranger to the game of football. We have many football fans as well as teams that compete in local leagues across Uganda,” said Mr. Labejja.
As part of the Airtel Rising Stars19 tournament, 94 games will be played at inter-district level, from which 8 boys and 8 girls teams will be chosen to advance to the finals with the tournament finals played on 7h September in Kampala Region.
National winners will get UGX7,000,000 from UGX5,000,000 last year while national runners up will get UGX5,000,000 from UGX3,000,000 last year.
Regional winners will get UGX1,500,000 up from UGX1,000,000 last year and runners up will get UGX1,000,000 from UGX500,000 last year. Other prizes include certificates for all, medals, trophies, golden boot for MVP, phones and various other ARS merchandise
“As part of this year’s tournament, we will handover goal posts, soccer nets and balls to 40 schools countrywide as a way of keeping the football talent alive even after the tournament,” revealed the telecommunication giants.