By Innocent Ojara
On Wednesday, Airtel Uganda team led by Managing Director, V.G Somasekhar, officially launched the eighth edition of the Airtel Rising Stars initiative at Peace War Memorial Stadium in Gulu.
As part of the 2019 tournament, 94 games will be played at an inter-district level from which 8 boys and 8 girls’ teams will be chosen to advance to the finals slated for 7th September in Kampala.
A total of 60 districts from across the country will participate in this year’s edition.
As part of the tournament, Airtel will hand over goal posts, soccer nets, and balls to 40 schools countrywide aimed at keeping the football talent alive.
Speaking at the launch, Somasekhar expressed Airtel’s commitment towards deliberately investing more in developing football talent across Uganda by sponsoring local leagues, cultural tournaments like Masaza Cup and the Uganda Cranes.
“We have deliberately invested more in development of football talent across Uganda and as of today our sponsorship vary from local leagues, Cultural tournaments such as Masaza Cup and finally the National team,” he said
What the others said
Indrajeet Kumar, Airtel Marketing Director
“The Airtel Rising Stars football tournament has given talented boys and girls between the age of 13 and 17 years an opportunity to compete against fellow youths with hopes of being scouted to join the local league, football clubs all over the world and the Uganda national team.
“The tournament now boasts of producing players like Farouk Miya, Kezron Kizito, Allan Okello among others.
George Labejja, Mayor of Gulu Municipality
“I would like to thank Airtel Uganda for choosing Gulu to host the launch of this tournament and I assure you of security and cooperation while you are here.
Hajji Zubairi Galiwango, the Vice Chairman of the Uganda National Council of Sports
“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 Nation football team.
The prize for regional winners will be increased to UGX 1,500,000 from UGX1,000,000 last year and the runners up walk away with UGX1,000,000.
National winners will get UGX 7,000,000 an increase from UGX 5,000,000 while the runners up will earn UGX 5,000,000. Other prizes include Certificates for all, medals, trophies, golden boot for the MVP, phones and various other Airtel Rising Stars merchandise.
In the spirit of the beautiful game, National Youth Primary and Credo primary played a 30-minute friendly match after the official launch at Pece Stadium.