Following a successful debut in global esports competition in 2022, the Kenyan National esports team is this year competing again for a spot in the Africa team. The winner will be chosen after two separate rounds of the Global Esports Games African qualification matches. This edition of the competition is running on a 5G network as a result of a partnership between Huawei Kenya and the Esports Federation of Kenya.
The eFootball category has attracted 12 teams drawn into two groups of 6 each with four slots up for grabs. Kenya is in group B alongside South Sudan, Senegal, Djibouti, Somalia and Algeria while Pool A shall have Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Tunisia and South Africa.
(TOP: A display of Huawei’s 5G gaming setup for virtual reality competitions).
The top two from each group gain automatic qualification, while the first and second runners-up will face-off in the semi-finals to battle out for the two additional slots. Teenage sensation Harry “Kappa” Thuku is representing Kenya in this category.
“Huawei is thrilled to partner with the Kenyan National esports team and to support gamers in Kenya. We understand that seamless connectivity is crucial for players, and that’s why we’re excited to provide 5G routers to ensure they can connect to high-speed 5G networks, enabling them to perform at their best. We believe in the power of technology to elevate gaming experiences, and this partnership exemplifies our commitment to enhancing the esports ecosystem in the country,” said Maureen Mwaniki, Public Relations Director at Huawei Kenya.
She added that the firm’s connectivity was suitable for gaming since it had demonstrated that with the large bandwidth of 5G, a user watching 4K video online can skip through the timeline and never have to wait for buffering. In addition, 5G’s low latency makes mobile gaming smoother. With 5G, an online game can recognize 200 to 300 clicks per minute. The extra clicks could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
In the mobile games category, the Kenyan PUBG Mobile team faces off with nine other African nations with three slots on the line. Algeria, Djibouti, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia are the other teams. The 4v4 game is a battle royal format that involves all teams at the virtual arena competing at a go.
The Kenyan PUBG team is coached by Allan “Serge” Kimani and includes Farhan “Riot” Mughal, Jeff “Spiky” Itale, Jonathan “Shakid” Ngugi, Rheinehold “Shot” Shume and Douglas “777” Karuku.
Kenya’s women’s team dubbed dota2 has already qualified for the global showpiece after emerging top of their African qualifiers. The games are set to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2023.
Newly elected Esports Federation President Ronny Lusigi exuded confidence in the team’s ability to do well.
“We have a strong team. Our gamers have the talent, and I am confident our players will prevail. They have received the necessary support in terms of proper location for 5G internet connectivity and any other necessary equipment,” said Lusigi.
The matches are all played online with internet connectivity provided by Huawei which has offered 5G routers to ensure efficiency.
Esports Kenya President has thanked Huawei for the support. “We reached out to Huawei at a very short notice and it is really generous of them to offer this major boost to our esports national team. We are hoping for a great result.”
In Esports, whether video or online, players face off against each other in a range of games, with various tournaments and leagues offering massive prize money. Popular games in Kenya include FIFA, Fortnite, and League of Legends, with dedicated communities of players and fans.