Hard work pays off for All-Stars

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The week long tournament was eventually won by Zambia, who outclassed their continental rivals and claimed the prize with a game to spare.

The All-Star team included at least a single player from the participating teams. The 18 boys who were selected to form part of the team could not hide their emotions which illustrated the fruits of their hard work.

"Firstly the entire tournament was hard as there were quality opponents. I am glad that I participated in this tournament because it will offer me exposure," explained 17-year-old striker Basil Self from Tanzania.

"I have learnt a lot of things in this tournament. Things like what it takes to be a professional soccer player, the benefits of teamwork, and lastly, improving my fitness to have the ability to play a lot of games because endurance was needed to cope with the league match schedule. Where we played 8 matches over the 3 day period."

"I one day hope to play for Chelsea and I hope the Chelsea youth coaches were watching me because that is a team I love so much," added Self.

His teammate Tumaini Baraka completes the Tanzanian duo that make up part of the team and the Tanzanian captain said of his selection: "It was very hard to get here.

"I think I was chosen to play in this team because of the hard work I have displayed and the discipline that I have."

The tournament has not only equipped the youngsters with football knowledge, but has also helped them learn life skills that they will need as they develop into young adults.

Ugandan right-back, Daniel Ojara, who was also selected for the All-Star team, is certainly aware of the unexpected turns in life.

"My brothers are professional footballers. They have told me that I must not only focus on football but I should also give attention to my studies.

"I want to pursue a career in business if I don’t make it as a footballer.

"I am excited to play for the All-Star team because it shows that my football has improved and that I displayed something that the coaches liked," said the St. Mary’s Kitien scholar.

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