Kenema Kallon FC and Jam Jam FC Seal Victory in ARS Eastern Province
The provincial tourneys of the Airtel Rising Stars in Sierra Leone on Sunday came to an end as Kenema Kallon FC and Jam Jam FC Seal Victory in ARS Eastern Province region. Both teams claimed victory in a tournament that saw the fewest goals in the ARS Sierra Leone so far. It was also the most defensive after 22 matches were played and nine of those matches ending in a penalty shootout. There were four sending offs and six injuries making it one of the most combative of contest as young Sierra Leonean football stars struggle to have a chance in making it to the finals in Freetown. A district football representative, Victoria Bernard told journalists in Kenema that because of the rare nature of such football enterprise as the ARS, that provides unique opportunity to young people in the country there was always a risk that the matches will become more competitive. “It is very hard in Sierra Leone to see tournaments that provide such opportunities in Sierra Leone, and these kids are aware of this, they want to go further in the competition as a result they are bound to push harder and play tougher to ensure victory. Talk to them they will tell you they want to make it to Tanzania,” she said. (Photo: a FC Kallon Kenema are crowned champions of ARS eastern region)
Best player in the boys category feels likewise, Oryah Koroma a central midfielder for Kenema FC Kallon said achieving victory when everyone is cautious and do not want to concede goals makes the game of football much more difficult to play. “I take it as football, may be in Freetown we will see a more open competition than we had here in Kenema, but football is like that and I am not surprised.” Kenema FC Kallon was involved in the tournament longest post match penalty shootout that saw 14 FC Kallon players scoring against a defensive minded Eastern Eagles who netted 13 and lost the semi finals to FC Kallon who proceeded to the finals and edged KS United by a single goal.
Wuyah Mohai of Jam Jam FC was the star performer and best player for the girl’s category, and in a tourney that saw the fewest of goals she managed to get two match goals and one from the spot in post match penalty shootout, taking her tally to three. She was also crucial in her team discipline, assisting and also dropping in midfield to support her team attacking efforts. Their final match against local rivals Kahunla Queens was a tough bet as a very tight encounter ended in a 1-0 victory for Jam Jam FC, Kadijatou Sow got the game only goal in a rebound that deflected on two Kahunla Queens defenders. Kahunla Queens fought back, but just like the other ARS matches played in Kenema – it was a story of more midfield battle and few goals scored. Kenema Kallon FC and Jam Jam FC are celebrating hard-won victories as the ARS now moves west to Freetown for the western area regional tourney before the national finals.
It will be recalled that Airtel recently launched initiative ARS that seeks to motivate young people to follow their enthusiasm for football, by taking part in the contest. The tournament, which is presently underway across 15 Airtel markets in Africa, supports talent at grassroots level and provides young people with a podium to improve their football skills.
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