Novices Mbooni hope to survive a tough group

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Sunday, August 11th 2019 at 10:54 GMT +3 | Sports
Mbooni Boys player (right) in action against Kimilili Boys player in their Handball boys match at Shanzu Teachers training college grounds in Mombasa County during their finals.[Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

Mbooni Boys are eyeing a semi-final slot in handball as they seek to make their debut at the East Africa Secondary School games that begin in Arusha, Tanzania on Friday.

This is despite being in a tough Group A that has defending champions Adegi, last year’s semi-finalists College Gisenyi of Rwanda, Uganda’s St Lucia and homeboys Kilombero Secondary School.

Mbooni coach Gerald Juma said he is no stranger to this level of competition and he can prove his mettle having led national champions St Luke’s Kimilili to win the 2016 East Africa title.

Juma will be out to ensure his charges produce good results. “East Africa games are a different ball game altogether that is why we are setting moderate goals,” Juma said.

He said his toughest test will be to come out of the ‘group of death’ and advance to the semis. “We have been training and hope that our efforts and commitment will pay off and give us an edge over our opponents. We are the underdogs in the pool and basically, we just want to test the waters and see how far we can go, but our aim is to reach the semis.”

They make their debut in the East Africa scene with a clash against hosts Kilombero on Day Two of the championships. They take on last year’s bronze medalists College Gisenyi on Monday, play Uganda’s St Lucia on Tuesday before completing their preliminary ties on Wednesday against champions Adegi.

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Juma will rely on the services of goalkeeper Joshua Kilong’i, Sydney Omondi, Dalmas Wanyonyi, Richard Simiyu and Meshack Kasaine. Mbooni finished second behind Kimilili after losing 21-35 in the final to book their ticket to Arusha.

National champions Kimilili are in Group B and will battle for a place in the last four against former champions ES Kigoma from Rwanda, Gombe Secondary School and Kakungulu Memorial from Uganda as well as homeboys Vwawa and Mwanakwerekwe from Zanzibar. 

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