Airtel Rising Stars grand finale kicks off in Freetown
The much awaited national finals of the Airtel Rising Stars, Sierra Leone yesterday kicked off at the National Stadium in Freetown. Eight boys team and four girls team gathered together to take part in the youth tournament finale that will see the selection of four players (two boys and two girls) for training in Manchester United football school in Tanzania.
The opening ceremony saw another thrilling performance by local dance group Inspired Salone who performed exciting dance moves and gave a rendition of the Sierra Leone national anthem.
13th Legion from Freetown and Welding FC from Bo clashed in the opening match of the ARS National Finals and both teams looked very comfortable under the floodlight as darkness fell in Freetown. The highest goal scorer in the just concluded ARS Western Area tourney wasted no time to strengthen his credentials, Theophilus Conteh swiftly drove in from the right and found himself in front of goal, but he failed to capitalize and fell down easily after being trailed by Welding FC defender, Mohamed S Bah. 13th Legion FC dominated most of first half but couldn’t find the back of the net as Welding FC held tight.
In the second half, Welding FC turned the table and piled pressure but failed to threaten the goal in any meaningful way. A counter attack on the 47th minute saw 13th Legion FC, Theophilus Conteh scoring the first goal of the national finals after finding the back of the net again by tapping in from close range to make it 1-0 for his team.
The Western Area ARS golden boot winner made it 2-0 again for 13th Legion FC after a dazzling move from Hamza Kamara who outwitted Welding FC defender, Mohamed Sesay and laid a fine pass for Theophilus Conteh who cleverly shot beyond Welding FC goalie Ishmeal Alieu to make it 2-0 for 13th Legion.
Game became a scrappy encounter after players started to fade out.
Kenema FC Kallon drew 1-1 with Cheltenham FC in the day’s national finals, it’s a missed opportunity for Kenema Kallon FC as they had many chances to put the game beyond their opponent from Kambia.
In the opening minute of the match, Lahai Kamara, top striker for Kallon FC failed to take on a clear chance to take the lead and blazed wide in front of an empty net. Lahai Kamara had another chance but thought he was offside and hesitated to capitalise, Cheltenham goalie quickly stole the ball from an hesitant Lahai and cleared away.
Third time lucky, Lahai Kamara made sure he doesn’t repeat his earlier misses after he ducked an offside trap and lobbed over an approaching Cheltenham goalie to make it 1-0 for the Kallon Boys from Kenema. Cheltenham failed to take a clear chance after Alex Kamara is set free and
Kallon FC Mohamed Tarawaly missed a clear chance to make it 2-0 late on. As the rain intensifies in a cold national stadium the game was becoming bored when a sluggish attack in the dying minutes saw Cheltenham FC levelled late on after Alex Kamara managed to pick up a through pass and drove a low shot beyond an helpless Kallon FC keeper.
Cheltenham FC celebrated in style as if they won this after the final whistle.
Program and Fixtures National Finals
Date Time Match
Wednesday 13.00 Opening and Draw ROUND ROBINGroup A 15.00 13th Legion FC v Welding FC (Match B1) Group A 16.30 Kenema FC Kallon v Cheltenham FC (Match B2)
Thursday ROUND ROBINGroup B 12.00 Ocean Boys v Mt Aureol Pizzo FC (Match B3) Group B 13.30 KS United v Makidie FC (Match B4) Group A 15.00 Cheltenham FC – 13th Legion (Match B5) Group A 16.30 Welding FC – Kenema FC Kallon (Match B6) Group B 18.00 Makibie FC – Ocean Boys FC (Match B7) Group B 19.30 Mt Aureol Pizzo FC – KS United (Match B8)
Friday ROUND ROBINGroup A 15.00 13th Legion FC – Kenema FC Kallon (Match B9) Group A 16.30 Welding FC – Cheltenham FC (Match B10) Group B 18.00 Ocean Boys FC – KS United (Match B11) Group B 19.30 Mt Aureol Pizzo FC – Makibie FC (Match B12)
Saturday SEMI FINALS15.00 Suba United – Southern Queens (Match G1) 16.30 Red Eaglets – Jam Jam FC (Match G2) 18.00 Nr. 1 Gr. A Boys – Nr. 2 Gr. B Boys (Match B13) 19.30 Nr. 1 Gr. B Boys – Nr. 2 Gr. A Boys (Match B14)
Sunday Third Place and FINALS11.30 Loser G1 – Loser G2 (Match G3) 13.00 Loser B13 – Loser B14 (Match B15) 14.30 Closing Ceremony 15.30 Winner G1 – Winner G2 (Match G4) 17.00 Winner B13 – Winner B14 (Match B16) 19.00 Trophy Presentation
by Muctaru Wurie, Freetown
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