ISF Football World Cup: Debutant Kenya Bag Silver

The Kenya U18 School Girls team that won silver in China. PHOTO/ ISF

DALIAN, China- Kenya is proud to have reached the finals at the just concluded 2024 International Schools Federation (ISF) Football World Cup held in Dalian City, China.

The country outdid itself, striking silver in the Girl’s U18 category after a hard-fought battle against the hosts who had massive home support in the crunch tie held at the historic Souyuwan Stadium.

The sides battled to a 1-1 draw in regulation before the visitors went down 6-4 on post-match penalties.

In the semis, Kenya stunned Brazil 3-1. This sweet victory was preceded with a flawless show in the group stages where Kenya piped England 2-1, edged Germany 1-0 before drawing 2-2 with their African compatriots Ghana to top their pool of death with seven points.

On the driving seat towards this heroic journey to the historic final was super captain Vidah Okeyo. The prolific central defender has termed their outing in China as epic and a great eye opener.

As the heroic squad jetted back into the country on Tuesday afternoon where they were received by the Government dignitaries, Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association officials, and the local ISF affiliates, Okeyo heaped praises on the side she skippered saying: “China was a marvelous visit, everyone in the team gave out their best, the players stretched beyond their limits. Reaching the prestigious finals was no mean feat.”

“The ISF tournament was not a walk in the park, we went full throttle because we were focused on bringing glory to the country. Apart from the game, we learnt a lot from our peers from other nations, especially on education and cultural exchange.”

The Butere Girls football ace reiterated that the China showpiece was quite demanding as compared to their outing at the Costa Daurada Cup in Spain in March where they bagged a similar silver after finishing runners up.

“I think all schools adequately prepared for the ISF tournament, every side in China was dreaming and gunning for the coveted world title, so finishing second among 35 nations is quite an achievement that we made in the showdown,” she underlined.

Hosts China who won gold. PHOTO/ ISF

Asked about her thoughts on the Talanta Hela Initiative that helped to put up the dazzling squad together, Okeyo stated: “This is a noble cause that is helping to identify and nurture talent, I’m glad to be among the first batch that pioneered the team, it is even interesting that Talanta Hela has now gone international, from our exciting trips in Spain and China.

“Credit goes to our President William Ruto and Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba who have ensured the initiative is living up to its billing. The China and Spain outing have already given us so much exposure, this shows that the future of the game is very bright for Kenya.”

Head coach Maurice Okumu praised her girls for their feat in China narrating that the country started the football extravaganza as underdogs.

“Most opponents in our pool underrated us, but we stung back with upsets. We glowed as the tournament proceeded, we played well, we are happy that we surprised big teams, I’m glad we showed the world that Kenya is also something else in matters football,” Okumu underlined.

The silver winning Kenyan team .PHOTO/ ISF

Okumu said bagging silver at the ISF Football World Cup is a testament to what identification and nurturing of talent can do to a country like Kenya on a large scale.

“Taking part in the Spain tournament greatly prepared us for the China show, and we cannot thank our President, the Sports Ministry and the Education Ministry enough for making this happen. Let us all watch out for the Talanta Hela as this noble cause is already putting the country on the global map.

Kenyan boys who lifted the Costa Daurada trophy in March started the ISF Football World Cup on a good note, finishing second in their pool. However, their good run was halted by Qatar in the quarters after the latter successfully appealed against their 4-0 drubbing by Kenya.

Qatar argued that Kenya had fielded players who had earned yellow cards in the preliminaries which was against the tournament’s rules and regulations. The boys eventually finished 15th overall out of 35 nations in the tournament.

Away from football, Kenya hosted the ISF School Cross Country Championship at the Ngong Race Course in Nairobi on May 12, sweeping top accolades in all the categories contested.

Kenya U18 Schools ISF Football World Cup results


Kenya 3 China 4- Penalties


Kenya 3 Brazil 1.

Group Stages

 Kenya 2 England 1,

Kenya 1 Germany 0

Kenya 2 Ghana 2

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