Battle lines are drawn as schools from across the republic converge on Shanzu Teachers Training College and Shimo La Tewa School, Mombasa for the 2019 Brookside Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) National Term One Games from Tuesday.
The five-day annual showpiece will see schools vie for honours in hockey, basketball, rugby sevens and 15s, handball, swimming, athletics and cross-country.
Apart from the various titles, schools from KSSSA’S eight regions will also look to secure tickets to the East African Games set for August in Arusha, Tanzania.
Out of last year’s winners, Laiser Hill and Kaya Tiwi are back to defend their boys’ and girls’ basketball titles respectively. Moi Girls Kamusinga and Kimilili Boys will aim to add to their handball crowns, while St Anthony’s Boys Kitale will be looking to secure a fourth hockey crown.
Girls’ hockey will see new champions crowned as last year’s winners Trans Nzoia Mixed failed to qualify for the nationals. Rugby 15s will also new winners after holders Upper Hill lost in the Nairobi Region Games. Laiser Hill will defend their crown in the shorter version of the game, which has been moved to Term One from its usual Term Two date.
In the pick of Tuesday’s games, former champions Tigoi Girls from Western region and Barchando Secondary School from Nyanza clash in the opening group A basketball match.
This two teams have never met at the nationals before making thiss encounter an interesting one as both seek positive starts.
“We have been relishing the chance to play against them (Tigoi) because we have had so many misses in the past, but finally the opportunity has come,” said Barchando coach Harmon Omondi.
Tigoi coach Ken Egovwa, however, believes his charges will easily prevail over Barchando.
Brazeal Waswa, Liz Akinyi and Everlyne Opondo are some of the players Egovwa who is being assisted by former national women’s basketball head coach Peter Ochara, will use to win the match.
The other group match will see returnees St Brigid’s Kiminini take on NEP from North Eastern.
Group B matches set for this afternoon will see defending champions Kaya Tiwi Secondary clash with Materdei Mua Hills from Eastern region, while former winners Buru Buru Girls and Loreto Limuru renew their rivalry.
The boys’ matches of the day will see home side Aga Khan Academy take on champions Laiser Hill Academy in the opening group A match in the morning, as Alliance Boys will be having a date with Darul Hikma from North Eastern.
Group B matches set for the afternoon will see Nairobi Region champions Dagoretti High School High school play newcomers Miruriiri from Eastern, while fellow debutantes Agoro Sare from Nyanza will be up against last year’s finalists Sigalame