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World Schools Championships: Kenya Crashes Out After Win is Overturned

Boy's team victory scrapped following a petition by Qatar contesting the inclusion of two players in their opponents' starting line-up

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Dalian, the Chinese city that has been Kenya’s theatre of dreams, turned into a nightmarish pit and a wilderness of agony after the boys team’s 4-0 quarterfinal victory against Asian representatives Qatar in the International Schools Sports Federation (ISF) football World Schools Championships (WSC) was overturned.

The Friday win, which would have been Kenya’s biggest victory of the tournament, was scrapped following a petition by the Qatar side contesting the inclusion of two players in their opponents’ starting eleven.

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

In what would later turn out to be a stunning reversal of positions, it was in fact Qatar that had been given a caution for what was termed as “unsporting behaviour” by the technical committee following their conduct after their apparent loss to Kenya. This was the second of such cautions of the day, the first one being against Croatia for their conduct after losing to China.

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Undeterred by neither the loss nor the caution, the gritty Qataris lodged a complaint with the technical commission arbitration panel. They noted that players number 13 and 14 had started for the Kenyan side despite the fact that they had received prior consecutive bookings, which deemed them ineligible for the quarterfinal match.

Kenya’s number 13 has been Elisha Nalianya. He is also the team’s captain. Number 14 is Joseph Ndung’u .

Nalianya had been booked in the 62nd minute of Kenya’s match against Uganda while Ndung’u had been booked earlier during the first half of the same match in the 37th minute. Similarly, the pair had been yellow-carded in Kenya’s first two matches. Ndung’u went into the referee’s book in the 18th minute during their match against Chinese-Taipei, while the captain was the first Kenyan player to be booked after receiving his caution in the 48th minute of their inaugural match against Benin.

After deliberations, the technical committee ruled in favour of Qatar, squashing Kenya’s win and giving Qatar a 3-0 win judgement.

Hopes for any possible appeal by Kenya were dashed after a statement by ISF’s Juniors Sports Manager Justin Legall revealed that the Africans had responded to the decision with a no-contest step.

Apparently, the Kenyan team erroneously relied on a clause which implied that effects of cards received in one phase of the competition wouldn’t be in force in a different phase of the competition. Thus, they assumed that the suspended players were free to play in the quarters.

 Nevertheless, all is not lost. Although their progress further ahead has been halted, the team will still play New Zealand in a ranking match.

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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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