Kenya beat Germany, Benin as world schools football tourney starts in China

Kenya squad football World School Championships (WSC) in Dalian, China.

Exactly a week after winning the 24th International School Sport Federation (ISF) World Schools Cross-Country Championships, team Kenya got off to a dream start in the ongoing football World School Championships (WSC) in Dalian, China.

It was the girls team that set the ball rolling, so to speak, shocking last year’s semi-finalists Germany with a 1-0 win. After a goal-less first half, Elizabeth Mideva Lwangu scored the only goal of the match in
the 69th minute to hand the match to Kenya.

The boys kept up the momentum afterwards by upsetting Benin 2-1 in their debut match. It is
worth noting that Benin were not only quarter-finalists in last year’s Morocco tournament, but only lost by a solitary goal to eventual winners France.

The daunting task ahead of Kenya had already been made clear by their coach Peter Mayoyo who singled out the West African youngsters as the team’s biggest threat. This was during a cautionary statement last week before the team’s departure for China where, speaking to the media, he warned, “We have to be wary of the West African(s) they are a very good team…”

Fields where competition is taking place.

In the tight game, Kenya broke the deadlock early after Robert Mutie shot one past Benin goalkeeper Ziad Chabi Sallah after just 11 minutes.

However the joy was short-lived when, coincidentally, 11 minutes later Nawas Sailou equalised for Didier Ahossy’s boys. Coach Mayoyo fixed his troops in the right frame during halftime, for just 8 minutes into the second half Austine Odongo sealed the game with Kenya’s second goal.

While Kenya may have just won the battle, the war is far from over. The boys face yet another uphill task when they come up against the hosts in the form of Chinese-Taipei in their next fixture. The case isn’t so
different with the girls who will square it out with last year’s quarter-finalists England in their next game.


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England have already made their intentions known, drubbing Ghana 3-0 in the other game of the
group to now lead the pool.

Kenya’s fairytale start in the WSC football tournament is a continuation of a Cinderella story which began even before the teenagers walked on the pitch.

In the draw that took place in April, Kenya’s girls team was pitted in the pool of death. The group included last year’s bronze medalists St Noa girls of neighbouring Uganda, Germany who they beat to clinch the bronze, and quarter-finalists England. To make matters worse, on top of the formidable opponents, as late as this month the team still wasn’t certain of participation in the tournament hence hampering their preparation.

Squad with officials.

In a stunning turn of tables, while president William Ruto conducted a late intervention which saw the relieved girls quickly assembled in camp now assured of participation, on the other end, the group’s biggest threat, Uganda’s St Noa, pulled out of the competition.

Nevertheless, although they’ve avoided the Ugandan juggernaut and have neutralised the German threat, they now have to maintain the momentum against group leaders England and Ghana too.

The boys didn’t have it any easier. Also undergoing the agonizing uncertainty of whether they would participate in the tournament or not, coach Mayoyo hurriedly assembled his squad roughly a week to the
bonanza. While they’ve managed to contain Benin, Chinese-Taipei who are likely to enjoy home support lie in wait.

Also in the group are Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (FEASSSA) Games silver medalists Amus College from Uganda. They achieved the feat in their impressive showing in Huye City, Rwanda. Kenya faces Amus in her final game of the group. Amus leads the group following their powerful showcase where they thrashed Chinese-Taipei 7-2.

The championship attracted 37 boys teams, 19 girls teams and 33 countries. A total of 1,176 participating in the ISF football world cup in Dalian China from 17th May to 27th May 2024

Kenya is represented by 1 girls’ team and 1 boys’ team.

By Vostine Rtaemo

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