NAIROBI, Kenya- Chicago-bound Special Olympics Kenya (SOK) team were the special guests at the FIFA World Cup semifinal viewing party at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi on Tuesday night.
The squad that has been in camp at the Pan-African Christian University in Nairobi for the last one month will be headed to Chicago, United States of America, this Sunday for the inaugural Special Olympics Unified Football Cup to be held on July 16-20.
“We selected a team of 11 players after the inter-school contests in Kilifi County, they have been alternating residential camps in Kilifi and Nairobi,” SOK Chief Executive Officer, Susan Masila, told SportPesa News.
“We have trained hard including engaging in friendly games to help the players to gel. We are hoping to clinch this first edition of Unified Football Cup in America,” Masila underscored.
Masila said they have also selected a team of 73 players who are expected to enter into a residential camp soon ahead of the Abu Dhabi 2019 World Summer Games.
Kenya will be represented in football, athletics, cycling, basketball, beach volleyball, bocce, handball, volleyball, swimming, golf and open water swimming at the World Summer Games.
“We have plan to start serious training later this year in readiness for the competition that will be held on March 14-25,” Masila highlighted.
Masila, who was supporting Belgium at the World Cup viewing party, thanked KICC Chief Executive Officer, Nana Gecaga, and soft drink company, Coca Cola, for giving SOK the opportunity to watch the hotly contested semifinal that saw her team of choice take on 1998 champions France.
France won the crunch encounter staged at Zenit Arena in Saint Petersburg, courtesy of a 51st minute goal from Samuel Umtiti. The victory consigned Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ to another bitter disappointment.
“We live to fight another day, my hope is that Belgium will qualify and win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” Masila underscored.
“We enjoyed ourselves to the fullest, watching the game on big screen here was akin to being in the stadium where the players were battling,” highlighted 1987 World Marathon champion, Douglas Wakiihuri, who is a SOK board member.
The former London Marathon and Commonwealth Games champion will travel with the unified contingent to USA as team manager.
The partnership between SOK and Coca Cola will see SOK light-up the KICC in July as part of Special Olympics 50th anniversary celebrations.
Special Olympics Kenya team for Unified Football Cup in USA
- Mangale Luvuno
- Mwazonga Sagana Charles
- Kitsao Mwanajuma Jumwa
- Kahindi Mischel Mapenzi
- Salim Halima Kavuthye
- Kaingu Nuru Dama
- Jambo Rabecca Pahe
- Mweni Lilian Kadzo
- Karisa Irene Karembo
- Kivuma Pendo Karisa
- Haro Nicholus Kai
- Wanyonyi Anitah Mutua
Maina Douglas Wakiihuri