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HomeSportsMount Aureol FC and Suba Stars claim coveted ARS trophies

Mount Aureol FC and Suba Stars claim coveted ARS trophies

Mount Aureol FC and Suba Stars claim coveted ARS trophies

On a sunny Sunday afternoon yesterday, the stage was set – weeks of intensive football finally led us to the grand final of the Airtel Rising Stars Sierra Leone tournament. From Makeni to Bo, Bo to Kenema, and Kenema to Freetown; the tourney was played with much passion. Tears were shed, laughter and delight beamed through some faces, wry looks and feeling of deep anticipation permeated through many and many including the old and young turned out even during the hot burning sun drenched daylight in Makeni or the rainy spells in Kenema to watch their relatives, friends and neighbourhood teams play.

One of a series of performances that thrilled spectators before kickoff

For a tournament many in Sierra Leone had praised for bringing Sierra Leonean youngsters nationwide to a competition never before seen here, the National Stadium in Freetown played host to the grand finale of ARS Sierra Leone grand final as Inspired Salone, cultural dancers, the Movie Dancers, Salone Michael Jackson et al all added spice and pageantry in the opening ceremony to a tense atmosphere in a tournament that has often been filled with fighting and competitive spirit.

Minister Paul Kamara takes the kickoff for the final

Minister of Youth Education and Sports, Mr Paul Kamara, WAFA head, Unisa Awoko Sesay, SLFA Acting head and SWASAL head all greeted players before the Minister took the kickoff.

It was back to real football action as northern region champs Suba Stars take on Southern Queens from Bo in the girls final, the match started in a frenzied pace with both teams braving forward to get the opener. Suba Stars key defender, Fatmata Sesay mistakenly headed in an own goal as she aimed to get rid of an incoming corner kick, she couldn’t believe her ill luck as the ball she tried to head out flew into her own net giving her opponent the vital opener.

Time was running out and it looked as if Red Eaglets was heading for the trophy when Hawa Conteh, Suba Stars FC striker made a deep run towards goal as she was about to kick she fell down on a challenge inside the box and Mariatu Conteh rose and sent a low drive from the spot to the far post giving the ladies from Makeni a key equaliser at the stroke of injury time making it 1-1.  The game entered extra time and the Red Eaglets upped their game in the extra time and piled on the pressure, but Suba Stars were undaunted and a lob from Mariatu Conteh saw Red Eaglets goalie batting out and Juliana Tarawaly leaped on the ball and stabbed in from close range to make it 2-1 for Suba Stars.

Airtel's Mustapha Katta shaking hands with the Suba United players

Red Eaglets did not give up, they fought for an equaliser and they almost got one in the dying minute of extra time when a free kick by Rashidatu at the near the eighteen yard box railed through the cross bar and went over. After the final whistle there was an ecstatic scene of celebrations as the girls from Makeni danced their way through the tunnel, Suba Stars Cecilia Bangura said in excitement; “We conquered everyone – we are the undisputed champions.”

Suba United, winners of the girls ARS category

The boys final immediately kicked off, and a flurry of attacks and counterattacks meant that not only the referee was on his heels but spectators also were treated to an ideal dramatic start, Mt Aureol Pizzo FC attempt to grab control of midfield was met by a tough challenge from Cheltenham FC who started with a crowded midfield and focused on chocking Pizzo midfielders from supplying a deadly Pizzo attack.

Their efforts proved futile as Mt Aureol Pizzo FC Jusu Bockarie was well positioned to complete a startling move from midfield by chipping a lob pass that found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Bockarie Jusu should have made it 2-0 soon after the opener when he stretched to tap in a ball inside the net but he miscued and ball went off.

Mt Aureol Pizzo FC from then on got their way in the match, Amadu Kanneh made a fine finish with a straight kick to give his team the added goal advantage after a frenetic move giving his team a 2-0 lead. Cheltenham FC coach, Nabi Musa was left fuming as his goalkeeper was sent off after he handled the ball to stop a goal scoring chance outside the eighteen yard box.  Final whistle blown and Pizzo celebrated a hard earned victory.

Winners of the ARS boys category, Mt Aureol Pizzo FC

Meanwhile, in the earlier third-placed matches, 13th Legion beat Makibie FC 5-2 to claim bronze and

13th Legion defeated Makibie FC 3-0 in the third place encounter

Hamza Kamara opened the scoring there with Patrick Gbinda equalising, but 13th Legion Theophilus Conteh got a hat-rick, Makibie FC Mohamed Sowa got a consolation but Ibrahim Fornah sealed victory for 13th Legion to make it 5-2.

Minister of Sports, Paul Kamara, handing over a cheque and cash to the winning boys team

Southern Queens edged Jam Jam FC in the girls third-placed after Feremusu Kamara scored the only goal of the match making sure her team claim bronze.

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