Schools: St Anthony’s chase 11th East Africa title in Arusha

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Thursday, August 15th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
St Anthony football team from Kitale (in red) vs Shimba hills High school from Kwale county during the Kenya Secondary Schools Association term two national ball games at Moi Stadium in Kisumu county on July 30th 2019. The match ended 1-0 in favour of st. Anthony.(Collins Oduor, Standard)

Six-time East Africa Secondary Schools hockey champions St Anthony’s Boys Kitale look ready to win their seventh regional crown.

The national champions will be out to defend their title at the 2019 games that begin in Arusha, Tanzania, tomorrow. Team coach Kelvin Lugalia said even though the format of play has changed from round robin, they are focused on retaining the trophy.

“This will be the first time we compete in knockouts but I am not worried because we trained well for the competition and our focus now is on the pool matches. Once we are done with the pools, then we can focus on the semis but we have prepared to win every match,” Lugalia said.

He said athough Kenya has dominated the regional games for many years, they must be wary of the Ugandan sides who have been improving in every championship. “We don’t expect an easy competition because all the seven teams prepare to dethrone us. We expect stiff competition from the Ugandans who have improved their hockey standards and are closing in on us.”

St Anthony’s are in Group A and will begin their campaign against compatriots Meru School on Sunday. They will take on Uganda’s Namilyango College on Monday in their second pool match before completing their preliminary ties against Ntare on Tuesday.

Former champions Friends School Kamusinga who return to the games after two years in the college will launch their quest for the top prize in Group B against homeboys Juhudi. Kamusinga who boast of four East Africa trophies will meet St Mary’s Kisubi and Kawempe Muslim from Uganda on Monday and Tuesday in their second and third group matches respectively.

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The Kenyan boys will be looking for a clean sweep having failed to impress in recent years. In 2017, Kisumu Day won the trophy but St Charles Lwanga Kasasa from Uganda snatched silver as St Anthony’s and Upper Hill settled for third and fourth place respectively. Last year, Upper Hill finished fourth as St Anthony’s and Musingu finished first and second with Uganda’s Kakungulu memorial taking bronze.

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