The finals ended in Fort Portal last month with Kitara winning the girls competition, while Kampala took the boys’ accolades.
Season 7 of the Airtel Rising Stars U-17 tournament lived to its billing once again when it unearthed a lot of talent that will definitely continue to feed into the various national teams.
The finals ended in Fort Portal last month with Kitara winning the girls competition, while Kampala took the boys' accolades.
A total of 6000 (4000 boys and 2000 girls) took part in this year's competition which Airtel has promised to continue bankrolling.
Addressing stakeholders during a media interaction at Serena Hotel on Monday, Airtel Managing Director VG Somashekar said they would continue bonding and connecting with the community in which they do business through football.
"We decided to zero on one sport and sponsor it with commitment and I'm happy to see we have completed 7 seasons and in three years' time we shall be making ten years. This is the journey we want to continue moving with going into the future," Somasekhar said.
"Football is a team game which challenges you to perform and learn as a team which makes the players grow. We truly believe the best way to develop is to use sports to empower and contribute to their development."
He said over the next five years, the company will spend over sh25bn in football sponsorships having already renewed their contract with FUFA for the next four years.
Apart from the Airtel Rising Stars, Airtel also also supports the Uganda Cranes, the Masaza Cup and other Buganda Kingdom activities like the Kabaka Birthday Run.
"We are trying to ensure that we have a consistent, contribution to make football a winner,"
Somashekar stated before thanking the press for their ‘incisive and precise' feedback following completion of Season 7.
To ensure outstanding players from the program continue to blossom FUFA's Rogers Byamukama said they have created juniors leagues in the under 18 and 19 and are recruiting District Regional Footall Officers whose job is to develop capacity and football within the regions. Byamukama suggested that Airtel creates a platform from which a travelling fan base for the Cranes can emerge.
The ARS program has unearthed a lot of talent that include Thomas Kakaire, Abdul Iddi Wahid, Delton Oyo, Pollycap Mwaka and Ibrahim Mwaka, Ibrahim Akolot, Abdul Yasin Owane, Najib Iga and Owen Mukisa who were part of the Uganda team that won the CECAFA U-17 AFCON qualifiers recently.
In the past the ARS has produced stars like Shaban Mohammed, Farouk Miya, Martin Kizza, Allan Okello, Julius Poloto, Bashir Asiku, Ivan Eyam, Pius Obuya, Fazila Ikwaput, Juliet Akello, Lillian Mutoozo and Juliet Nalukenge among others who ply their trade with several local and international clubs.