In a stunning display of skill and athleticism, the Freestyle Connect Africa 2023, held in Cairo, culminated in a triumphant moment for Ali Yahia (Algeria), Ramy Boujlil (Morocco), and Mohamed Gamal (Egypt), who claimed the top three spots, respectively.
The event, hosted by Feet 'N' Tricks International Limited (www.FeetNTricks.com), the biggest promoter of freestyle football in Africa, on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, saw Algeria taking home the grand prize of $3000, followed by Morocco with $2000, and Egypt with $1000. In addition, they also received DLK Clothing Signature's merchandise.
The competition was part of the broader Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF2023), championed by AFREXIMBANK, in collaboration with the African Union and AFCFTA which held from November 9 to 15, with the theme, 'One People, United in Culture, Creating for the World'. The theme emphasises the importance of African unity and the power of its rich cultural heritage in forging a brighter future.
It featured 14 elite athletes from across the continent, judged by three international freestyle legends, Joel Asare (former Ghanaian Champion), Ashley Mkhize (former South African Champion), and Yousef Ayman' Yorok' (former Egyptian Champion).
The event, which was held at the Al Manara International Conference Centre, was a cultural extravaganza and a testament to Africa's rich heritage and unyielding spirit.
Iya Traoré, the Guinness World Record-holding freestyler from Guinea/Paris, delivered a breathtaking performance. Similarly, Raquel Benetti, the Brazilian freestyle virtuoso and Guinness World Record holder, captivated the crowd with her mesmerizing skills. The atmosphere was electrified by the beats of celebrity DJ Fat Sam, setting the tone for a high-energy contest.
Ahead of the main event, Feet 'N' Tricks also hosted the Egyptian National Freestyle Football Championships, showcasing local talent and further cementing the sport's promoter's commitment to promoting freestyle football in Africa. Mohannad Hossam emerged as the Egyptian Champion for 2023, Youssef Hossam took the 2nd prize, whole Mohamed Gamal (Gamey) came third.
Valentine Ozigbo, the Chairman of Feet' N' Tricks and a multiple-award-winning global CEO, expressed his enthusiasm in his welcome address, stating, "The exceptional skill and genuine passion exhibited today are truly unmatched.
"These freestylers transcend the realms of mere athleticism; they are artists and creators in their own right, communicating through a universal language that blends creativity with the ethos of sportsmanship.
"This event is not just a competition; it's a celebration of African unity and talent. We are proud to collaborate with AFREXIMBANK and WFFA, bringing together the best of African freestyle football."
Daniel Wood, the Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships at the WFFA, echoed these sentiments: "The WFFA deeply acknowledges Africa's crucial role as the epicentre for the burgeoning growth of freestyle football.
"As a confirmation of this narrative and to celebrate Africa's contribution to this dynamic sport, we are proud to announce that Nairobi, Kenya, will be hosting the prestigious World Football Freestyle Championship on Nov 25, 2023. Ali Yahia who emerged champion today is already billed to represent Africa at the World Championship."
Adaeze Anyaoku, the Director of Events at AFREXIMBANK, the event's main sponsor, highlighted the bank's mission: "Our support for Freestyle Connect Africa aligns with our goal of fostering pan-African unity. Sports and culture are powerful tools for bringing people together, and we're proud to be part of this incredible event. We are proud to partner with Feet' N' Tricks to bring this wonderful sport to IATF2023."
The roster also included renowned names such as Yousef Hosam, Red Bull Street Style Egyptian Champion 2023; Larry Etuduvwun, Nigerian Panna Champion 2019; Mustafa Disha, former Egyptian Champion; Edward Murimi (Kenya); Mohamed Khaled 'Peso', a top freestyler and TikTok influencer in Egypt; Abdullah Emad, Sudanese Champion; Titi Cone, two-time African Champion and three-time Côte d'Ivoire Champion; Ala Balti (Tunisia); Ayoub Haouas, two-time Tunisian Champion; Sipho, South African Champion 2022; and Cecil Chiila (Zambia).
With the successful hosting of Freestyle Connect Africa 2023, Feet 'N' Tricks has set a new benchmark for freestyle football events, as routine battle was the first ever in the World, solidifying its position as the biggest promoter of the growing sport on the continent.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Feet 'N' Tricks International.
The African Export-Import Bank, commonly referred to as AFREXIMBANK, is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution established in 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its primary mission is to promote and expand intra- and extra-African trade. Over the years, the bank has been pivotal in driving the economic development and integration of the African continent.
About Feet 'N' Tricks Limited:
Africa's leading promoter of freestyle football, Feet 'N' Tricks Limited has been pivotal in hosting major events and championships across the continent, aiming to make freestyle football mainstream in Africa. The company hosts the Nigerian Freestyle Football Championship and the African Freestyle Football Championship.
The World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) is a global governing body for freestyle football. They are responsible for organising global championships and standardising the sport's rules, providing a platform for athletes to display their skills internationally.
The Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF) is a flagship event that brings together stakeholders in the African and global trade sectors every three years. IATF2023, scheduled from November 9 to 15 in Cairo, Egypt, is a unique platform that aims to increase intra-African trade by providing critical trade and market information, enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and finalise business deals.
The theme for IATF2023, 'One People, United in Culture, Creating for the World', underscores the significance of Africa's unity and the strength that emerges from its rich cultures. It emphasises the idea that when the people of Africa come together, sharing their diverse cultures and talents, they create products, services, art, and innovations that have a global resonance.
About CANEX Exhibition at IATF2023:
The Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) is a platform within IATF that promotes Africa's vast creative talents, connecting visionaries with investors and stakeholders. From fashion, music, and art to technology, film, and design, CANEX underscores Africa's position as a global powerhouse in the creative industries, aiming to foster partnerships and drive economic growth in the sector.
About DLK Clothing Signatures:
DLK Clothing Signatures Limited is an internationally acclaimed garment and footwear manufacturing company based in Abuja, Nigeria. The DLK brand is recognised globally as an emblem of meticulous craftsmanship and unparalleled quality. With a keen emphasis on enhancing the socio-economic lives of its workforce and the communities in which it operates in Nigeria, across Africa, and the broader global community, the company remains steadfast in its adherence to the highest health, safety, and environmental regulations, and investment in corporate social responsibility initiatives.