IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA
Debutants Mogonga PAG Secondary School and St Joseph's Kirandich Secondary School from Kenya Monday advanced to the semi-finals on day four of this year's East Africa Secondary Schools Games.
While Mogonga proceeded in boys' volleyball, Kirandich booked their slot in girls' handball, both with one preliminary match left to play as they look to extend their fairy-tale runs at the 18th edition of these games.
Kenya's second team in girls' handball, Moi Girls Kamusinga also secured their place in the last four.
Mogonga coach Nathan Kiptoo was elated after their 3-1 (25-23,25-15, 23-25,25-22) win over IPRC Karongi of Rwanda at the Tanzania Games Track and Safaris (TGT) grounds made it a perfect three out of three.
The Kisii-based school line up against Dynamic Secondary School of Uganda on Tuesday in their last pool 'B' match looking to end their preliminary campaign on a high.
"The newcomers' tag has worked wonders for us because nobody really gave us a chance and we are happy to play with no pressure," said Kiptoo.
The Nyanza region outfit had won their first two matches against Mbogo Mixed Secondary School of Uganda and hosts Milambo Secondary School in identical scores of 3-0.
Kenya's second representative Lelmokwo Secondary School were scheduled to play PS Karubanda of Rwanda on Monday evening looking for their first win.
The Rift Valley Region school has so far lost all their matches against hosts Twangoma Secondary School (3-2) and Don Bosco Gatenga of Rwanda (3-1).
In the girls' category, last year's bronze medallists Cheptil Girls Secondary School and Soweto Academy recorded wins against Trust High School of Uganda and Tanzania's Makongo Secondary School to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the last four in pool 'B'. Cheptil saw off Trust High 3-0 (25-18,25-8,25-22 ) while Soweto won 3-0 (25-18,25-19,25-20) against Makongo.
Cheptil play 2015 champions GS Indangaburezi of Rwanda on Tuesday, knowing a win will put them in the semis.
Soweto, on other hand have a rest day on Tuesday and will take on Indangaburezi on Wednesday.
Kenyan girls' handball champions Kirandich's fairy-tale run continued after they secured a 25-15 over Uganda's Kawanda Secondary School to ease into the semis. The newcomers had opened their account with an impressive 29-15 win over hosts Kilole Secondary School.
Kirandich coach Kepha Nyaundi believes they have what it takes to go all the way and win the title.
"This team gets better with each match and I believe we can take on any team and challenge for the gong," Nyaundi said.
In rugby 15s, Kenyan champions Kakamega High will fancy their chances of reclaiming their crown after seeing off their main rivals Dagoretti High School 32-5 at the TGT grounds.
Kakamega face Uganda's Namilyango College in their third match on Tuesday morning as they look to reclaim the title they last won in 2016 in Eldoret. On Saturday, they opened their campaign with a 46-0 win over compatriots Kangaru Boys High School.
Having done away with Kenyan sides, the Barbarians will be favourites to go all the way and clinch a seventh title. Kakamega coach Amos Wamanga has however warned against any early celebrations.
"Nothing is done yet and we still have a lot of work to do before we are crowned champions. So far we have been vintage and we just need to keep going," Wamanga said.
Against Dagoretti, Kakamega were 20-0 up at the break thanks to a brace of tries from David Kamau and one each from Bradley Lidiema and Reinhard Ngaira.
The second half also belonged to Kakamega as they continued with their dominance with Victor Gichana and Felix Omollo adding more tries. Charles Omulako added the extras to condemn Dagoretti to defeat.
Dagoretti rest on Tuesday and will continue their onslaught on Wednesday against Uganda's St Mary's Kisubi. The Ugandan school lost 30-6 to Kangaru on Monday, the latter's first win.