Norwegian Erlend Fagerli took his 10th title during the first-ever World Freestyle Football Championship to be held in the African continent after beating French rising star Tristan Gac in the male final confirming his status as an absolute legend of the sport.
In a spectacular venue, the Bomas of Kenya in the vibrant city of Nairobi, an enthusiastic crowd also witnessed the extraordinary feat of Polish superstar Aguska Mnich, who beat Dutch powerhouse Jasmijn Janssen in the female final and secured her sixth World Championship. Laura Biondo, from Venezuela, and Jesse Marlet, from the Netherlands, took the bronze medals in their respective categories.
The 2023 edition of the World Freestyle Football Championship, organised by the World Freestyle Football Association together with the prestigious Kenyan agency Homeboyz, was the first World final to take place under the new competitive structure of the Pulse Series, with qualification events happening across all continents in the world.
For the first time as well, the event was broadcast on the TikTok channel of Italian football giants Juventus, where it achieved massive success. “I’m just… so happy,” said Fagerli, the newly-crowned male World Champion, adding: “It’s very special to win such a tournament right before retiring from the professional circuit. I wasn’t sure I was going to win at all – the level this year was incredibly high. It’s amazing how the sport has evolved since I started!”
The female winner Mnich could not hide her joy admitting she had faced many difficulties en route to being crowned. “I’ve been working so hard for this… I almost can’t believe it happened. It’s truly a dream to be here and be World Champion again,” said Mnich, adding: “I had many difficulties on the way here, but thanks to my trust in God, I’ve finally made it. I know it wasn’t me – it’s all thanks to him.”
Edward Murimi, the WFFA official from Kenya, commended the local athletes for their exceptional efforts, by stating: “While the Kenyan athletes may not have secured the titles this time, their dedication, support and passion showcased for the sport are commendable. The exposure and experience gained from the championship will undoubtedly inspire more individuals in Kenya to explore freestyle football. We encourage everyone to embrace the sport and its vibrant community.”
The event week also included a series of legacy activities aimed at giving back to the local community in Nairobi, who generously supported the athletes during their time in the Kenyan capital.