Airtel Rising Stars’ national finals ended in glory for Yamba Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) of Chitipa and Lilongwe-based New Version Private Secondary School at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre yesterday.
Yamba did it in the boys’ category after beating Zatonse Private Secondary School of Chikwawa 8-7 on post-match penalty shoot-out after a one-all draw in regulation time while New Version took the glory in the ladies’ section with a comfortable 4-1 triumph over Ndirande-based Namalimwe CDSS.
Yamba were the first to score through Stain Silavwe against the run of play with a header and Zatonse equalised in the dying minutes through Andrew Chilemba.
Typical of secondary school football encounters, the two sides celebrated their victories with songs and dances as they received K1 million ($1 812) winners purse each from Sports and Culture Minister Grace Chiumia and Airtel regulatory director Wilson Kyumba.
Runners-up Zatonse and Namalimwe received K750 000 ($1 359) each.
In individual awards, Zatonse’s Andrew Chilemba and Steven Tsogolani emerged as top scorer with five goals and best goalkeeper, respectively, while Yamba midfielder Lackson Tsangano won the best player of the tournament accolade.
In the ladies’ section, Temwa Chawinga of New Version won both the best player and the top scorer accolades. She scored nine goals in the tournament. Her teammate, Memory Gama, was named the best goalkeeper.
The Airtel Rising Stars’ season five finals were spiced up with a match between the Flames and the competition’s season one and two select side. The Flames won 2-1. The select side was the first to score through Levison Maganizo while the Flames got their goals through Manase Chiyesa and Yamikani Chester.
Kyumba said they were excited at the conduct of the players this year and Airtel will come back next year with season six of the competition.
“Our aim is to unearth talent and we are happy that we are achieving this feat in a greater way,” he said.
Chiumia said government will continue to support Airtel and she asked more companies to emulate the gesture of developing soccer talent through grassroots soccer.