Mbeya girls football team wrote history when they beat Arusha 1-0 in the under 17 national Airtel Rising Stars final match at the Karume Memorial Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
This is the first time that ARS tournament has involved girls. It was Naomi Michael who scored all-that important goal for Mbeya in the third minute of the second half after racing past Arusha defenders to unleash unstoppable shoot that left Arusha goalkeeper Jackline Gibson scrawling helplessly.
The match was played for 50 minutes. Earlier in the opening half, Arusha Irene Baisi made a dangerous attempt but her move was timely thwarted by Mbeya defenders. Naomi Michael ought to have scored the opener in the 23rd minute had it not been for Arusha goalkeeper who dived to put to safety the dangerous attack.
Apart from the trophy, Mbeya girls have won themselves 1m/- worth of books, gold plated medals and certificates of recognition. Deputy Director of Sports Juliana Yasoda who graced the finals, described the talent scouting tournament as significant for football development in Tanzania and commended Airtel Tanzania for considering girls involvement in Airtel Rising Stars competition.
On her part, Airtel Tanzania Marketing and Advertising Manager Rahma Mwapachu underlined Airtel commitment to supporting football development in Tanzania. She also commended the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and the ministry responsible for sports for the cooperation that they have accorded this tournament since it was introduced in Tanzania last year.
Six outstanding players, three boys and three girls, will be selected to attend an international soccer clinic which will take place in Nairobi in August, this year, while the winning team will take part in an inter-continental tournament involving other 17 African countries where Airtel does business. The inter-continental clinic will also be held in Nairobi.