St Anthony’s and Dagoretti eye East Africa football title
National champions St Anthony’s Kitale and Dagoretti High are itching to win this year’s East Africa Secondary School games boys’ football title.
The Kenyans will be on a mission to end Uganda’s dominance when this year’s games begin on Friday in Arusha, Tanzania.
Uganda have dominated the games winning 14 out of the 16 titles since the inception of the championships in 2002.
St Anthony’s, who won the coveted trophy in the first edition and 2016 champions Barding, are the only Kenyan sides to have won the title.
St Anthony’s, who return to the regional scene after a one-year absence, are burning to end their 15-year wait to reclaim the gong.
They launch their quest in Group A against Tanzania’s Lindi secondary School in the opening match on Friday at Sheikh Amri Abeid Memorial Stadium.
St Anthony’s coach Peter Mayoyo said his charges will settle for nothing less than the trophy.
“I have a very excellent squad that is determined to excel. In 2017, I had good players but injuries ruled out five key players in our opening match, which destroyed our dreams leading to our exit in the quarter-finals,” Mayoyo said.
St Anthony’s will also be up against defending champions Buddo and Stahiza from Uganda and Jeshi la Kujenga Uchumi (JKU) School from Zanzibar.
Mayoyo added that even though their ultimate goal is to bag the elusive trophy, their strategy is to focus on one match at a time.
Fast-rising Dagoretti High School are eying a memorable regional debut, hoping to succeed where others have failed for many years.
The national finalists, who lost 5-4 to St Anthony’s on post-match penalties in the national final, will have East Africa most successful school and Uganda’s sports powerhouse St Mary’s Kitende to reckon with in Group C.
They take to the fields for their opening match on Sunday against hosts Ruwuiko from Tanzania.
Dagoretti will also take on Blantyre Secondary School from Malawi.
Malawi will be featuring in the region’s top schools sports event for the first time and will compete in football and netball.
Dagoretti coach Joseph Makokha is keeping his objectives modest.
“It is the first time for my boys to compete at this level hence the need to remain focused and modest. Our first aim is to qualify for the quarters. From there, we will need to strategise on how to handle the knockouts,” Makokha said.
Last year’s finalists Lycee De Kigali (LDK) from Rwanda and 2015 runner-up Alliance High from Tanzania, highlight Group B that also has Jinja from Uganda and homeboys Vwawa.
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