Upper Hill set eyes on podium finish

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Thursday, August 9th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Hockey
Upper Hill's Elisha Ogacha clash with Onesmas Biketi (left) Goalkeeper of St Anthony in their final match during Kenya Secondary Schools Term 1 games at Nairobi School on Saturday, April 15, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Having been overshadowed at the regional games for the past two years, national boys hockey finalists Upper Hill are determined to settle for nothing less than a top three finish.

They are hoping to exorcise demons that might have had a hand in their 2016 and 2017 fourth-place finish.  

They will be up against five other sides that will be battling in this year’s Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association games that begin on Sunday in Musanze, Rwanda.

Upper Hill coach Jane Amisi said their main objective is to finish in the medal brackets.

“We have had enough with that spot (fourth). This year we must improve on our performance because the boys are ready to prove they can do better than a fourth place finish,” said Amisi.

“We narrowly missed the national title but now want to have some consistency at the regional games.”

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She added that they have been training hard since qualifying for the games in April and their game plan will yield success.

“We have our game plan and we are only waiting to execute. We had good preparations ahead of the games and the boys are yearning to play their hearts out and excel.”

They will face off in a round-robin format against five-time East Africa champions St Anthony’s Boys Kitale, who beat them 2-1 to be crowned national champions during April’s Term One games at Kangaru School.  

They will also be looking to defeat compatriots Musingu and gain more points, which will help them achieve their objective.

“Every point will count because playing in a round-robin format we will be need all points so as to achieve our purpose,” said Amisi.

“Unlike the last two championships where we started well but lost our footing along the way, we will play every match as if it were a final,” Amisi added.

In addition to seeking victory over compatriots St Anthony’s and Musingu, Upper Hill must also overcome Ugandan sides which will be out to end Kenya’s dominance in hockey.

Ntare School, who finished sixth in last year’s competition, will lead Uganda’s onslaught against the Kenyans in the absence of silver medallists St Charles Lwanga Kasasa.

Ntare, alongside Kakungulu Memorial and Sir Samuel Baker, will fly Uganda’s flag. Kasasa have been Uganda’s most consistent side that has for many years, threatened to snatch the trophy.

St Anthony’s, who won bronze medal, will be only 2017 top finisher in the championships after winners Kisumu Day and Kasasa failed to qualify for the games.