After ousting last year’s national winners Upper Hill, Nairobi region boys football champions Dagoretti High hope to impress in their maiden appearance at the big stage.
Dagoretti, christened Ditchez, will feature for the first time at the Kenya Secondary Schools National Term Two games that kicks off in Eldoret on Monday. While the games will be new to most of the students, all eyes will be on Dagoretti coach Joseph Makokha, the man who propelled Upper Hill to limelight.
Makokha led Upper Hill to three national finals. His 2012 team, which comprised Kenya international striker Michael Olunga, lost to St Anthony’s Boys Kitale in the final. A year later, he led Upper Hill to their maiden national title and last year saw them avenge their 2012 loss to St Anthony’s beating them 3-1 in post-match penalties to wear the crown.
Despite this level of competition being unfamiliar to his charges, Makokha believes they have what it takes to progress to the finals and win the title. “Our aim is to play in the final and win. I have quality players and I believe in their abilities. They have what it takes to become champions. They are not only determined to qualify for East Africa games but they want to travel to Rwanda as the national champions,” Makokha said.
Dagoretti beat Upper Hill 2-0 in the Nairobi region finals to book their place at the nationalsMakokha says he is confident his players have had excellent training.
“We have trained well, played friendly matches and also the Nairobi Regional league and the boys have done well because they are currently second on the standings. However, we respect all our opponents and we will take every match seriously,” he added.
However, Ditchez will have to play without key midfielder Hamdi Mohamed who is out with an ankle injury he picked in their league match against Prisons.
Even so, Makokha will not be short of players and will replace Mohamed with Simon Omondi. Samson Chacha will man the goal with Victor Barongo and Haggai Wekesa in defence. He will bank on strikers Bonface Mwangemi and Oscar Owino.
Dagoretti are in Group B alongside Olbolsat from Central, North Eastern champions Tarbaj and Shimba Hills from Coast. Group A, the group of death, has 12-time national winners Kakamega Green Commandos (Western), four-time national, 2002 East Africa champions St Anthony’s who will be enjoying their Rift Valley home support, national regulars Kathungi from Eastern and Nyanza region winners Ringa who eliminated Kisumu Day. St Anthony’s and Kakamega finished second and third last year whereas Kathungi settled for fourth place.