.As Lagos Face PH In Female Category –
A new Airtel Rising Stars National Champion is expected to emerge when Ilorin take on Abuja in the male category final match to be decided Saturday inside the football pitch of the Yabatech Sports Complex, Akoka, Lagos.
Both teams qualified for the showdown with most points after a four-game round robin matches played between Wednesday and Friday in Lagos. They had also played out a barren draw when they met at the group stage. Ilorin came tops with eight points from four matches which included two wins against defending champion Port Harcourt and Enugu and two draws from the matches against Abuja and Lagos.
Abuja on the other hand, came second after recording a win against Enugu and three draws in the matches against Ilorin, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
In the female category, Lagos will attempt to dethrone defending champion, Port Harcourt when they both clash in the first final match to be decided also at the Yabatech Sports Complex, Akoka.
Both teams had recorded nine points after a round of three matches before squaring up against each other to determine the group leader.
The match looked like a rehearsal ahead of the final, with both teams giving good account of themselves though it was Port Harcourt who eventually ran away with a 2-0 victory courtesy of Imoh Juliet who scored a brace to take her tournament tally to three.
Speaking about the final, technical advisers to Ilorin and Abuja teams, Mutiu Adepoju and Garba Lawal have predicted an exciting encounter between both sides.
“It is going to be a very interesting match, though we could not score against them in the group match. We have improved on our scoring abilities. The final is going to be an exciting one,” Ex-Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju noted.
“The final is going to be a different ball game from the first match. It is going to be a big fight, a good game. Mutiu wants to win just like myself. So, it is going to be a very good game,” said Garba Lawal.
The ARS U-17 tournament, a pan-African initiative of Airtel Africa, is designed to provide support for the development of football talents across Nigeria. It aims at discovering talented male and female footballers under the age of 17 and providing them with platform to gain football skills and develop into professional footballers.
The tournament enjoys the support of football bodies such as Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Arsenal Football Club and Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF).