Everything you need to know as Kenya braces for World Freestyle Football tourney

Everything you need to know as Kenya braces for World Freestyle Football tourney

Mark Kinyanjui 22:30 - 24.11.2023

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s World Football Freestyle Championship set to take place at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi,with Ksh. 3 million and January trip to Juventus up for grabs.

For the first time in its 13-year history, the World Freestyle Football Championship 2023 will be taking place in Africa, specifically the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on Saturday, 25th November 2023.

The event week will include not just the highly anticipated World Finals, but also a series of legacy activities in Nairobi. These initiatives are aimed at giving back to the local community and spreading the word about the benefits of Freestyle Football for kids and teenagers.

Ahead of the championships which will begin from 2:30 PM EAT, here is everything you need to know ahead of what is set to be a historic event.

What is the World Freestyle Football Championship?

Organised in various formats since 2008, the official World Freestyle Football Championship is the prime tournament in the sport organized by the World Freestyle Football Association.

It is open to male and female freestylers from every single country on the planet.

Held in a different city every year, the Finals of the World Championship are doubtlessly the most thrilling and competitive events of the circuit – a magic stage in which the most talented athletes show off their skills against their peers from other countries, continents, and cultures.

Starting in 2023, the World Freestyle Football Championship is split between two stages:

1. The Pulse Series, consisting of five live qualifiers held in different continents (plus an online one) through which freestylers can earn their spot in the Finals

2. The World Championship Finals, featuring an event in which the 16 best male and 16 best female freestylers from all continents compete for the crown of World Champions

Past editions of the World Championship include legendary events such as Pula 2022, Miami 2019, Tokyo 2013 and Lecce 2012, among many others.

Who are the event partners?

The event has attracted two different partnerships. Homeboyz PR Group are the ones in charge of the event, but Italian Serie A champions Juventus will also help provide coverage through their TikTok account.

How many participants will be competing?

A total of 32 participants -16 men and 16 women- from all over the World will be battling out to win the ultimate price.

The 32 contestants are coming from all regions of the world through the six qualifying events of the WFFA Pulse Series:

1. Online Pulse Mombasa for Africa

2. Pulse Riga for Europe

3. Pulse New York City for North America

4. Pulse Córdoba for South America

5. Pulse Hiroshima for Asia-Pacific

6. Pulse Online for the rest of the world

The list of participating athletes includes the two current World Champions, Caitlyn Schrepfer from the USA and Erlend Fagerli from Norway, as well as a collection of first-class talents from all continents:

Angelique Ferreira (South Africa) and Ali Yahia Ouahmed (Algeria), representing Africa.

Melody Donchet (France), Aguska Mnich (Poland), Yoanna Dallier (France), Jasmijn Janssen (Netherlands) and Anastasia Bagaglini (Italy), as well as Tristan Gac (France), Jesse Marlet (Netherlands), Joan Sitjar (Spain), Tim Hoekman (Netherlands) and Nicolas ‘Nicox’ Rivière (France), representing Europe.

Mathilde Fortier (Canada) and Yahaira Zapata (Mexico), as well as Patrick ‘Patshaw’ Shaw (USA) and Fahed Albreiki (USA), representing North America.

Laura Biondo (Venezuela), Diana ‘Karol’ Rojer (Panamá) and Marisa Cintra (Brazil), as well as Sebastián ‘Machine’ Peña (Colombia), Sebastián ‘Boyka’ Ortiz (Colombia) and Julián ‘KMP’ Sosa (Colombia), representing South America.

Moeka ‘Moe-K’ Sakurai (Japan), Mai Yasutake (Japan) and Miharu Miyoshi (Japan), as well as Jay Hennicke (Australia), Hiroyuki ‘Hiro-K’ Kaneko (Japan), Philip ‘PWG’ Warren Gertsson (Philippines) and Akinobu ‘Aki’ Komine (Japan), representing Asia-Pacific.

What is the reward?

The top three players in each category will walk away with  20,000 USD ( ksh. 3 million) cash.

The winner will walk away with 6000 USD, the runner up will take home 3000 USD while the second runner up will do with 1000 USD.

As an added bonus , The four world finalists will have the opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy in January for a content creation experience in Turin thanks to the association’s partnership with Juventus.

Ticketing information

Fans who wish to attend the event can buy tickets on Tikiti.co.ke. A regular ticket costs 1000 shillings, while a VIP one costs 3000 shillings.

Who are the panelists?

1.Andrew Henderson, 2014 World Champion, from the UK

2. Kamal ‘Kamalio’ Ranchod, from South Africa

3.Yo Katsuyama, from Japan

4.Sven Fielitz, from Luxembourg

5.Andreas Cetkovic, from France

Will spectators take part in a freestyle challenge?

Spectators will have a chance to showcase their skills in between breaks, with gift hampers on offer.

What has been said?

“This is the first World Final after the implementation of the Pulse Series qualification system, and honestly, we couldn’t be more proud of how everything has been so far,” said Steve Elias, President of the WFFA.

 “Our partnership with a top-notch agency such as the Homeboyz ensures that the event will be nothing short of sensational. We really can’t wait to meet the athletes in Kenya and kickstart the competition!”

“It’s an honour for me to be able to defend my World Championship in such a captivating location as Nairobi” declared Caitlyn Schrepfer, current female World Champion. 

“I’ve been working hard this year to be at my best in Kenya and can’t wait to face the best female freestylers in the world there. No doubt it will be a fantastic experience!”.

“We are honoured to host these international tournaments in Kenya, ” added Myke Rabar, President of the Kenyan Freestyle Football Federation. “It highlights our commitment to promoting Freestyle Football, and in the meantime, it provides a platform to showcase our beautiful country and boost tourism”