As the 8th edition of the annual Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) football tournament is underway with 60 inter-district qualifiers and former participants in the talent search tournament, sponsored by Airtel-Uganda, have showered praises to the tournament.
The 2019 edition was launched on July 10 in Gulu; with other mini launches in 14 districts and registration of teams was closed on July 14 at Airtel-Uganda shops country wide.
Kawempe Muslim Ladies FC forward Juliet Nalukenge believes that ARS made her what she is as far as her football career is concerned and owes all a lot to the tournament.
“ARS provides good platform for youngsters to get exposed. I commend Airtel-Uganda for the support and I wish participating teams success,” noted Nalukenge, who also features for the national team (Crested Cranes).
The S.5 student at Kawempe Muslim SS on a football bursary was part of the 2016 ARS edition and finds the tournament the best to showcase talent as it brings on board non school going players.
The 2019 inter-district qualifiers started on July 16 and will be held in Kampala FUFA region, Buganda, North East and Eastern region, Northern and West Nile, Kitara and Western.
The quarter finals will be played in Kampala before the finals scheduled for September 7 still in Kampala. Since 2011, ARS has given schooling and non-schooling talented, boys and girls between 13-17 years old an opportunity to compete with hopes of being scouted to join top local and international clubs as well as the national team.
The national and regional winners will enjoy an increase in their cash prizes this year. National winners will get Shs7m from Shs5m last year while national runners up will get Shs5m from Shs3m.
Regional winners will get Shs1.5m up from Shs1m and runners up will get Shs1m up from Shs500000. Other prizes include certificates for all, medals, trophies, golden boot for MVP, phones and various other ARS merchandise.