TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

ARS 5: Rivers State Male, Female Teams Qualify For National Finals

By Adebayo Dawodu
Listen to article

Port Harcourt, Rivers State; August 10, 2015 : Rivers State male and female teams have emerged winners of the South Regional Championship at the ongoing Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) 5 U-17 football tournament held in Port Harcourt at the weekend.

Rivers State boys clinched the ticket after defeating their Delta State counterpart by 2 goals to nil in an encounter that was full of action. The goals were scored by the team captain, fifteen year old Tari Ogidi, who eventually won the Highest Goal Scorer Award in the regional tournament.

In the female category, the girls from Akwa-Ibom held the River State girls to a 1-1 draw, but lost 5-4 on penalties.

While presenting trophies to the winners, Airtel’s Regional Operations Director for South Region, Veronica Onoja, congratulated all the teams for participating in the competition and supporting the tournament. She noted that all the boys and girls who participated in the regional tournament played so well and did their best to get to the finals.

“Airtel has done well to create a platform to facilitate the development of our youths and sports and also help them achieve their dreams. We have seen quite a number of stars in the making and the most important thing is that they have been able to showcase themselves on this platform. I believe this is a springboard to launch them to greater heights” she said.

Precious Ibanga of Akwa-Ibom who scored a total of 4 goals emerged the Highest Goal Scorer in the female category while Ogidi won the male category with 5 goals. 16-year-Old Akwa-Ibom born striker, Uduakobong Peter won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for female category while Eze Lawrence, 16, won in the male category.

Coach of the Port Harcourt male team, Michael Ritama attributed their victory to hard work, team spirit and determination. “As we look forward to the finals, we will improve on our skills and fitness and we hope to go to Lagos and lift the trophy,” he said. In same vein, Rita Nwadike, the coach to the female team maintained that the team will improve themselves as they head into the National Finals..

With participants from Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Ondo and Edo States, Lagos is next to host the last leg of regional championship at the Legacy Pitch, National Stadium, Surulere, between the 14th and 16th of August.

Two weeks ago, boys from Benue State and girls from Plateau State emerged champions in the Abuja Regional Championship held at Old Parade Ground, FCT. Winners from the three regions will thereafter vie for the ARS 5 trophy in the National Finals slated for September 3-5, in Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) sports complex, Lagos.

The ARS tournament is a unique initiative of leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria. It has been providing support for the development of football talents across Nigeria since 2011. It is aimed at discovering talented youths (male and female) of secondary school age and providing them with the opportunity to gain football skills and develop into renowned stars.