Kakamega seek simple progress to nationals as St Ignatius Mukumu and St Cecilia Misikhu aim to retain their handball and hockey titles
National rugby 15s champions Kakamega High School launch their quest for a ticket to this year’s national secondary schools Term One Games when the Western Region contest begins today at Friends School Kamusinga.
National boys’ champions (handball) St Ignatius Mukumu and girls’ (hockey) St Cecilia Misikhu will also be battling to retain their regional titles and book places at month’s national games in Embu.
The seven-time national winners Kakamega will battle seven other teams from Western for the sole spot to the national games. Kakamega coach Amos Wamanga said their worry is not with the national title, but are focused on winning at the regional final first.
“We are not even thinking about the national title because we must come out of the Western games unbeaten. Our focus is on retaining the Western title because it is our only ticket to the nationals,” Wamanga said.
Kakamega open their campaign in Group B against Chavakali, Nambale and hosts Kamusinga.
Former national champions Bungoma High and St Peter’s Mumias are in Group A together with Vihiga Boys and Sigalame of Busia.
Despite losing seven key players, who finished Form Four last year, Wamanga remained confident that he has perfect replacements.
“Seven of my last year’s starting 15 left but I’m not worried. I believe in the abilities of my current players because they have perfectly fit in the First team.
"They were equally good last year even though they were in the second team,” Wamanga said.
He will rely on the services of captain and eighth-man Kevin Kimani, centre Valerian Tendwa, winger Timothy Omela and fly-half Tony Oketch.
In hockey, 12-time national boys’ champions and hosts Kamusinga will be seeking to bounce back from last year’s disappointment and secure a return to the nationals.
Kamusinga, who excelled in 2016 winning both the national and East Africa titles, failed to go past the region games, falling to Kakamega’s Musingu 1-0 in the final.
They are in Group A together with their tormentors Musingu, Nyang’ori from Vihiga and Kolanya from Busia.
Group B has Bungoma’s Kibabii, Butula, Vihiga and Kivaywa. Kamusinga coach Godfrey Muleyi said their goal is to qualify for the knockout stage.
“We are in a very tough pool and we will fight for our place in the semis. The boys are determined to make their return to the nationals.”