Kenya Eyeing World University Games

The Kenya Federation of American Football is on the verge of fielding a team for the FISU World University Championships set to happen in Monterrey, Mexico mid this year. The Monterrey Organising Committee announced on their website that the Kenyan National Team was interested in participating in the 2nd WUC in Monterrey.

Kenya joins a list of four other countries including Canada, Finland, South Korea and Sweden which are also in contact and interested in presenting teams for the competition.

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This competition is just the second of its kind.  American Football is new to the circuit of FISU games, only joining in 2013. The inaugural WUC was held in Uppsala, Sweden in 2014 and had a modest turnout of five teams and 228 athletes in total.

Kenya - coaching drills

Coach Dan Eck instructs linemen on blocking techniques.

Five teams already confirmed

The 2014 competition was won by Mexico which ended its run unbeaten by toppling Japan in the finals. This edition is set to be even more entertaining with the United States of America recently entering a team to join Mexico, Japan, Samoa and China which have all confirmed their participation.

In case all the teams confirm attendance there could be a turnout of nine to ten teams and stiff competition as a consequence. This would be especially unsettling for the Kenyan team which is conspicuously the only African team that has expressed their interest in the competition and the obvious underdogs given their home league is still making baby steps.

Worth noting though is the emergence of coach Dan Eck, the Kenyan head coach, and an American football veteran from the United States. The Kenyan team is confident of a formidable performance in case they pull the trip off given they have been on a fairly consistent training run for the past couple of months.

In an article headed ‘Kenya closer to participate in Monterrey 2016 the Monterrey Organising Committee states that

‘”The Kenyans are very excited about the event and are moving aggressively on their country to obtain funds necessary to make the trip.”

Indeed, the Kenyan team is still in talks with an array of interested companies and airlines in the quest to make it to Mexico. Close sources to the board agree that it is an admittedly costly affair but the optimism radiating from the board and the coach might be an indication of a good chance at sponsorship.

Kenya - special teams

Special teams during a training session at the University of Nairobi

FISU is the International University Sports Federation and it accepted an application by IFAF to incorporate American Football as one of the sports played in its circuit in 2013. IFAF also visited Kenya during the 7th All Africa University Games in 2014.

In that event, the Kenyan-American Football team in attendance was solely Kenyan and only two top teams participated. At that point, it was categorised as a demonstration sport due to the fact that it was new and fairly unknown. Ever since the Kenyan team had an outing and won in Uganda, it has been fairly dormant internationally.

But here comes a chance for them to see at what level they really are right now. This trip can be said to be heaven sent given the exposure it will bring. The only gift the Kenyan boys have to give in return is a sterling performance that will give them even better recognition worldwide.

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