Secret behind Tetu High’s astonishing sports success

Wednesday May 13 2020
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Tetu High School volleyball team at Tetu High School, Nyeri County on March 13, 2020 preparing for the County ball games. PHOTO | ANTHONY NJAGI |

By ANTHONY NJAGI

Academics alone do not a wholly student make. This is the slogan by which long time educator Joseph Mugo lives by in the course of nurturing his students.

Together with his sons, Mugo gets busy outside the classroom honing the football, volleyball, netball and athletics skills of his students at Tetu High School in Nyeri.

The man’s impact in local sports has been felt nationally, especially in volleyball, where many of his protégés play at national and international level.

If you examine the lists of Kenya’s volleyball league, you will see the names of Mugo products — Jane Wacu, who has plies her trade with Kenya Prisons and Malkia Strikers and, Esther Wangeci of Kenya Pipeline.

Other include Nellie Kogi, Eunice Tarus, Margaret Nyairera, Virginia Wairimu and Catherine Wanjiru.

In men’s volleyball, the veteran administrator and a principal with vast experience has also made a mark nationally.

He is the one who discovered the prodigious talents of Jackson Mwambia of Kenya Prisons, Alex Kariuki of General Service Unit, James Mwai of Equity Bank and Burton Waigwa amongst other.

In football, Mugo has nurtured such stars as Levis Opiyo of Nairobi City Stars, Francis Muturi (Tush), Chrispin Owour (Fonde) and Joseph Kariuki (KK). “I believe that every student has got a certain inborn talent just waiting to be discovered. This is what I strive to do with my students. I look out for sporting talent and promote it,” says Mugo.

During his heyday as a principal in Kiriti High School, the institution was unbeatable in boys and girls volleyball, football, netball and athletics.

In 2002, he retired from the civil service and founded Tetu High School.

“Here, he has a free hand in nurturing sports talent and his star continued to shine even brighter. In netball, the school has appeared in the nationals a record 13 times, from 2004 to 2017 without fail. They were the national boys volleyball champions in 2005 and were runners-up in 2008 and 2010.

They have appeared in the annual East African regional championships four times and have been Central Region champions nine times.

The girls’ volleyball team have been the runners-up in the nationals twice and the regional champions 11 years running.

Big name schools like Nyeri High, Kagumo High and Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls shake in their boots when they know they are meeting the volleyball and netball team of Tetu High.

One of the most famous of Mugo's sporting products is Margaret Nyairera, a former 800 metres world bronze medallist.

In a past newspaper interview, Nyairera revealed how Mugo discovered her.

“Unbeknown to me, the principal of Tetu High School had been keenly watching me on the track during school competitions. He approached me with a full scholarship offer conditional on me competing for the school."