Kenyan ambassador Paddy C Ahenda, along with International Walking Football Federation (IWFF) Asia and Qatar president Farhan Al Sheikh al-Sayed, led the launching of the Kenyan Walking Football Club in Doha recently at Al Jazeera Academy.
The event witnessed Ahenda, al-Sayed, and other embassy officials playing an exhibition match, followed by matches played between teams: IWFFQ Doha, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Ghana. Team Kenya won the finals and bagged the weekly trophy.
Al-Sayed, also the senior vice president of IWFF, presented an ‘Affiliation Certificate’ to Ahenda, who heads the African Ambassador's in Qatar. He will be the Patron of the Kenyan Walking Football Club.
He stressed that IWFF Qatar has been exerting effort and working hard to promote the sport as it runs awareness programmes in the country on the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle among local and expatriate communities.
Al-Sayed noted that Walking Football is one of the fastest growing sports concepts in the world, reiterating that IWFF Asia and Qatar and has been busy affiliating countries across the world to be part of the club.
Besides Kenya, he said embassies of Sri Lanka, Morocco, and South Africa have launched their Walking Football teams while community teams from the Philippines, Ghana, Nepal, India, Uganda, and Nigeria will be affiliated this year.
Al-Sayed expressed optimism that this sport will soon become popular in many parts of Asia, including the Philippines and its neighbouring countries.
This unique sport, he added, also encourages the youth, women, and different age groups, as well as ‘people with disabilities’, to stay fit and active instead of playing online games for long hours.
Al-Sayed pointed out that he also wants “to unite all expatriate communities so they can enjoy this new concept of Walking Football and live in harmony and peace under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani”.
IWFF Qatar is expected to hold several activities in the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the country, set to be held from November 21 to December 18.
Part of Walking Football’s general rules include: no running or jogging with or without the ball, no slide tackles and physical contact, ball must be played below knee height, blue card if a player commits three infringements and must leave the game for two minutes, red card if a player return from the sin bin and commits a further three infringements and no further play in the game (sent off), and a penalty kick is a direct free kick.
Al-Sayed said some of the goals of this sport include: keeping former players active and involving new players, enabling social interaction within all communities, avoiding injuries and helping those with physical disadvantage, providing a positive playing environment, and building friendships.
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