Season six of Airtel Rising Stars kicks off on September 9
State sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi has called on corporate companies to emulate Airtel by lending a hand in the grooming and nurturing of sportsmen from the grassroots in other sports disciplines.
Bakkabulindi was speaking to journalists at the launch of the season six of the Airtel Rising Stars U17 football tournament at Kibuli Secondary School.
"I'm happy to see this tournament grow, I thought it would fizzle out after a few years but it has helped us identify talent from the communities where we hardly reach. These talents are a good breeding ground for the national teams and I thank Airtel for this initiative and other companies should do the same for other disciplines like netball, rugby, athletics and the rest," Bakkabulindi said.
"It's a duty for all Ugandans to grow this talent; we need to continue with this formula of grooming talent from the grassroots if we are to send teams to competitions like the Olympics; and also creating a base for feeding the national teams, " Bakkabulindi stated.
Season six kicks off on September 9 with Kampala region games at Rubaga with a theme of celebrating former rising stars like Farouk Miya. FUFA scouts will as usual follow the action across the country, tapping the best talent.
"Airtel Uganda finds great pleasure in creating initiatives like these that give all youngsters in the country a chance to showcase their talent in the hope of being recognized and potentially recognized to represent their country's national teams," Deepak Bahtia Airtel chief commercial officer said.
"We appreciate the contribution by Airtel, most of the players we identified from the grassroots are now part of the national teams. This is the only program that reaches the communities and the national team coach will follow all regional tournaments," FUFA technical director Asuman Lubowa said.
Winning teams at the national finals will each walk away with sh5m in the boys and girls categories. Kitara (boys) and Buganda (girls) are defending champions from season 5.