With the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) Term 2B Games set to kick off next week in Mombasa, Nairobi Province are playing down their hopes of improving on their last season's performances.
Last year, the province failed to impress especially in football and volleyball, despite having been the hosts. Nairobi will be represented by Upper Hill School (boys) and Olympic (girls) in football while Hospital Hill (boys) and Buruburu (girls) will carry the capital's hopes in volleyball.
Nairobi Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) secretary Moses Mbuthia admitted that they are weary of the challenges from other provinces. He, however, promised that their representatives will give the coast show their best shot. "We don't want to put our teams under pressure but I am sure they are up to the challenge. Our teams will take every game as it comes and we will wait and see how things unfold," said Mbuthia.
While last year's boys representative in football Nairobi Milimani fell by the wayside in the tournament, they at least had one of their players Naim Ashraf picked among the four 'Airtel Risings Stars' for the inaugural soccer clinic in Tanzania, where they received training from coaching staff of English Premier League giants Manchester United. Others were Naomi Njeri (Matuu Memorial), Emily Auma (Jera Secondary) and Ali Rama (Tononoka).
Upper Hill will not only be battling to reclaim the province's dominance but also hope to catch the eyes of scouts who will be searching for the next crop of stars. Airtel brand and corporate communications director Dick Omondi while handing over a cheque to the KSSSA for this term's games last month, said the Airtel Rising Stars soccer camp will be held here in Kenya.
New force in boys football and last year's winners Gekomoni (Nyanza), former champions Kakamega Hhigh (Western) and St. Anthonys (Rift Valley) will start as favourites to lift the boys football crown. In the girls' category, Rift Valley's Tartar Girls from West Pokot hope to go one better than they did last season. At least the team that beat them in the final- Bishop Njenga- will not be defending the title.