15 August 2017

Kenyan Schools Have Work Cut Out at Regional Games

Boys' football will be one of the most hotly contested sport at this year's East African Secondary School Games that begin on Saturday in Gulu, Uganda.

Kenya will be represented by national champions Upper Hill, St Anthony's Boys Kitale and Kakamega High School in the discipline.

The trio will be hoping to retain the title won by Siaya County's Barding High School last year in Eldoret. Barding, who did not make it to this year's showpiece, beat 12 time winners St Mary's Kitende of Uganda 1-0 in the final at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

The result ended Kenya's 14-year wait for the coveted title as the Siaya-based school finally managed to end Kitende's dominance. Prior to Barding's success, St Anthony's were the only other Kenyan side to lift the title in 2002.

The three schools therefore have their work cut out as they bid to win on 'enemy' territory. St Anthony's Boys Kitale have been pooled with St Mary's Kitende of Uganda in Pool B. Other teams in the pool include Bentiu Boys from South Sudan and Burundi's Roi de Gitega.

St Anthony's, who finished second at last month's National Term Two B Games, are back in the regional showpiece after a five year hiatus.

St Anthony's coach Peter Mayoyo, who led the side to lift the title at the inaugural games held in Kenya in 2002, fancies his sides' chances of making it out of the group.

"We have been away from the regional scene for some time and we aim to come back with a bang. Obviously, Kitende are favourites but we believe we can overcome them," he told Nation Sport.

Upper Hill are in Pool A and a face a tough task against regulars Kibuli S.S and St Joseph's Layibi from Uganda, Tanzania's Alliance as well as College Karambi from Rwanda.

Upper Hill last featured at the games in 2013 in Lira, Uganda and will also be looking for a maiden crown.

"It has been a good year for us winning the national title on our return and we now want to complete the double in Uganda. We are underdogs just as we were in Nyeri last month and hope to be the surprise package," Upper Hill coach Joseph Makokha said.

Kenya's third team Kakamega High School headline Pool C alongside Uganda's Jinja S.S and Nakaseke International as well as Tanzania's Alliance Rock.

The star-studded Green Commandoes will be hoping to put the disappointment of failing to clinch the national title behind them and lift the regional showpiece.

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