NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23 – Kenyatta University student Phillip Kimani overcame 150 competitors to be crowned the Jumia FIFA gaming champion in the tournament that went down at the Thika Road Mall on Saturday.
Kimani secured a 2-1 aggregate (decided on golden goal rule after 1-1 draw in first leg) victory over Boniface Maina to walk away with the prestigious trophy and Sh50,000 in prize money.
Maina received Sh10,000, while second runners up Joseph Macharia pocketed Sh 5,000 in the one-day inaugural event.
“I’m extremely happy to be the first winner of this FIFA tournament. It’s a great feeling having beaten one of the toughest opponents in the final. I’m truly lost for words, but it’s my hope that I will keep getting better and better,” said Kimani.
“It’s a very tough game. It reached a point I almost gave up, but I kept holding on until I won it. As far I am concerned, this is the best event I have seen so far: from display to features.
“I will use the money to buy a console to help me continue practising in order to win in future events. Research shows that many people abroad have taken FIFA gaming as a career, winning large amount of money. I think here in Kenya, we are also on the right path.”
Close to 500 fans, who turned out in large numbers, were also not left out as lucky ruffle tickets winners went back home with give-aways courtesy of Jumia partners Dell, Hisense, Asus and Game Changer.
Jumia Head of Category Kwenhui Tawah said: “The great turn out shows the power of gaming in Kenya. This is just but the beginning because we are still in the early days for the sport.
“This was a great opportunity for the youths to show case their skills as well as celebrate the FIFA 19 on the back of the world cup. Based on the turn out we’ve seen that there is great demand for this type of programs in Kenya and as a result we are going to make this an annual event.”
Reflecting on the tremendous growth of E-sports in Kenya, Dell Brand and Category Manager Central and Eastern Africa Peter Mbiti said: “We are focused on helping E-sports in Kenya and supporting the youths in this initiative. I was really impressed with the turn out. The future of E-sporting is pretty bright and it would be awesome if they make a career out of it.”
Resan International Sales and Marketing Manager Manishi Dhami added: “It’s really nice to see the response of the event in terms of turn out. We look forward to continue partnering with Jumia in promoting E-sports in the country.”