Kisumu County is confident of winning the 9th edition of the annual Kenya Inter-Counties Sports and Cultural Association (KICOSCA) Games that begin today across different venues in the lakeside city.
During the last edition held in Embu, Kisumu finished second overall behind winners Nairobi and Said Juma, who will oversee the Kisumu football team, said they want to lead other teams in ensuring the title remains at home.
Speaking to Standard Sports, Juma, who is also Kisumu All Starlets head coach, said they have assembled a good team that will be going for the top prize as they seek to dethrone defending champions Embu.
"It always feels good to win especially at home and I would love to lead the football team to glory. It has been tough for us in the past three editions but we are ready to make everything right," said Juma.
Kisumu will start their campaign in football against Nyandarua from 11am before playing Nandi County at Moi Stadium in their round-robin Group E matches.
Defending champions Embu are in Group A alongside Homa Bay, Laikipia and West Pokot as Usain Gishu, Migori and Kilifi will square out in Group B.
Last year, Kisumu won in golf, finished second in men's basketball and volleyball, finished third in netball, men's tug of war, women's handball and table tennis. They were in ajua and women's basketball.
- Two people dead, 8 hospitalized following cholera outbreak in Kisumu
- Free cleft surgery benefits 20 children
Kisumu were second after amassing a total of 14 medals. Nairobi won the overall title.
Kisii County will also be eying the football title they last won in 2016 after naming a strong 20-man football quad with head coach Daniel Ratemo reiterating the importance of discipline in the games.
"The team is ready and raring to go. So far, we have played several friendlies in preparation for the games and I hope we shall compete well with our opponents," said Ratemo, who will lead the Gusii outfit in Group B.
Alloys Mogusu and Albert Omwenga will be in goal for Kisii as Wycliffe Matara, Joseck Moracha and Fred Onundu lead the forwards department. Absolom Ratemo, Joshua Maragia, Walter Nyabuto, Joshua Ondari and Festus Osero are amongst the 10 midfielders.
Men's football will be played in eight groups where the top two will proceed to the knockout stage.
At the same time, draughts defending champions Mombasa county have vowed to win the title for a six year running.
Led by Grandmaster Kidunguu Oganyi, the Coastal side are keen to battle out with other strong counties in the sport including Siaya County led by Tom Onyango, Nairobi led by Alex Lusala and Kilifi, who have Wilson Godana.
Draughts is a board game for two opponents. The game consists of moving the pieces diagonally through the black or white squares of a board of 64 or 100. The games were previously known as Kenya Inter-Municipal Sports and Cultural Association (KIMSCA) and were organised by the defunct local authorities.
Some of the disciplines the teams will compete in include golf, handball, chess, scrabble, football, volleyball, basketball, netball, athletics and tug of war.
Other events include pool, draughts darts, badminton, table tennis, cultural dance, choir and ajua.
The games will be held in 13 venues including Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo, Moi Stadium, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Centre, Kisumu National Polytechnic, Kasagam Secondary School, Lions High School and Kisumu School.
Other venues are Kisumu Day Secondary School, Aga Khan Hall, Mama Grace Onyango Social Hall, Rotary Training Center, Cosmopolitan Club and Nyanza Golf Club.
Kicosca was founded in 2013 at the onset of Devolution to showcase sporting talents and improve relations among the 47 counties.
Since its inception, Kicosca games have been hosted in Nairobi, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisii, Kericho and Embu.