Eastern defy odds to win ARS national title

Monday September 9 2019

Winners. Eastern Uganda boys celebrate after

Winners. Eastern Uganda boys celebrate after they won 3-2 on penalties against 2018 winners Kampala during the 2019 ARS finals at Mubs on Saturday. PHOTO BY GEORGE KATONGOLE 

By George Katongole

Eastern Region won the eighth edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 football tournament on Saturday, beating Kampala 3-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in front of a fair crowd at the Makerere University Business School (Mubs) grounds in Nakawa.

The easterners overcame a slow start, in which they were always at the danger of St Mary’s Nansana striker Jeremiah Jabera, who was constantly denied by outstanding goalie Ashraf Bwabye, a student of London College Nansana, to win the penalty shootout. Bwabye saved a penalty as Kampala missed two others to hand eastern their first national trophy.

Head coach Ronald Oundo, hailed his team’s resilience after a lucky escape from the groups which was characterised by a 3-1 loss to Kampala.

“We were even lucky to get out of the groups because West Nile had the upper hand yet when they lost to North East (2-0), we squeezed into the knockouts. We have been defending poor but I am happy that we revenged against Kampala,” the True Vine coach, said. Although eastern had the joint top scorer, Bashir Wandawa, the gong was awarded to Kampala’s Jabera, to deny them a clean sweep.

In the girls’ final, Kitara swept aside Eastern 2-0 with Mary Kabacurezi and Cissy Kabarwani scoring in either half. Eastern, who were rocked by a prize money distribution crisis ahead of the match, gave away the favourites tag with an inept performance.

But Kitara coach Rogers Ayesiga, who lined up a team of mainly Tooro Queens players, said they had prepared enough to defend their trophy.


He was building on last year’s triumphant side with only three new entrants; Sharon and Oliva Kanyeginya as well as Carol Kobugabe, making the cut.

Airtel awarded all regional winners a cash prize of Shs7m with the
runners-up getting Shs5m. 75 per cent is supposed to be given to the players and coaching staff while the rest is left for the region.