Team Kenya has learnt valuable lessons at the Special Olympics (SO) Unified Football Cup that ends in Chicago, USA tomorrow after winning one and drawing the other of their opening two fixtures.
Nicholas Kai’s side fell to Brazil 4-0 in the first match on Tuesday but that did not dampen their spirits as they held USA Illinois to a 2-2 draw in their next fixture for their first point in the tournament.
Goals from Irene Karembo and Sagana Mwanzonga handed Kenya the point that had them rank third in the group ahead of last night’s tie against Slovakia. “We were up against a strong Brazil team and nerves might have played a part in our loss as my players were not settled,” said Kiai, adding that during the second match, the players were more settled and followed his instructions hence the draw.
While Slovakia were considered favourties heading into yesterday’s match given they had won their opening two fixtures to top the group, Kiai was nonetheless proud of his players, saying they have displayed a good fighting spirit no matter the result. A win for Kenya against Slovakia would have given them a chance to proceed to the semi-finals.
In tandem with SO’s slogan “Let me win and if I can’t win, let me be brave in the attempt” coach Kai reiterated his players’ refusal to let their developmental conditions become insurmountable obstacles and their non-disabled team-mates’ resolve to change attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities.