Heartbreak for Kenyan boys as huge ISF World Cup quater-final win over Qatar is overturned

Heartbreak for Kenyan boys as huge ISF World Cup quater-final win over Qatar is overturned

Agencies • 13:45 - 26.05.2024

The Kenyans have been knocked out despite beating Qatar in the quater finals after the Asian nation appealed against the result after the victors were found guilty of playing illegible players.

Kenya's hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the International Schools Sports Federation (ISF) football World Schools Championships (WSC) in Dalian, China, were dashed after their 4-0 quarter-final triumph against Qatar was nullified.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education confirmed that the impressive victory, which would have marked Kenya's most significant win of the tournament, was overturned following a protest by Qatar regarding the eligibility of two Kenyan players.

"The heartbreaking decision brings to an end what had been the country’s fairytale progress throughout the tournament, registering a series of impressive results," the statement read.

Initially, Qatar was cautioned for "Unsporting behavior" by the Technical Committee due to their conduct following the loss to Kenya. This was Qatar's second caution of the day, the first being against Croatia for their conduct after losing to China.

Despite the caution and the loss, Qatar lodged a complaint with the Technical Commission arbitration panel. They argued that players number 13 and 14 from Kenya should not have played due to receiving consecutive bookings in previous matches, which made them ineligible for the quarter-final.

The players in question, Elisha Nalianya (number 13 and team captain) and Joseph Ndung'u (number 14), had received yellow cards in the 62nd and 37th minutes, respectively, during Kenya's match against Uganda. Both players had also been booked in Kenya's first two matches.

After reviewing the complaint, the Technical Committee ruled in favor of Qatar, annulling Kenya's 4-0 victory and awarding Qatar a 3-0 win by default.

Kenya's hopes of appealing the decision were thwarted after ISF's Juniors Sports Manager, Justin Legall, confirmed that Kenya had accepted the ruling without contest.

 The Kenyan team had mistakenly believed that yellow cards from one phase of the competition would not carry over to another phase, leading to the inclusion of the ineligible players.

Although their journey in the tournament has ended, the Kenyan team will still have the opportunity to compete against New Zealand in a ranking match.

While the decision has halted Kenya's remarkable progress in the ISF football World Schools Championships, the team remains determined to finish the tournament on a high note.

 The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding tournament regulations and the impact of disciplinary actions on team eligibility.

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