Five-time East Africa secondary school girls’ volleyball champions Kwanthanze of Machakos will not be leaving anything to chance as they start their title defence when the 19th edition of the games begin today in Arusha, Tanzania.
Coach Justin Kigwari, who guided the team to national title victory for the ninth time last weekend in Nakuru, said yesterday that they have set their eyes on the title.
“We have prepared well and ready to repeat the 2019 show, where we won the title after beating Cheptil in an all-Kenyan final,” said the coach.
Kwanthanze captain Faith Cherotich is also confident of steering her team to victory.
The Kenyan girls open their title chase today with a match against Katikamu of Uganda in pool B that also has Mkalapa of Tanzania and Uganda’s Hilton.
The other Kenyan volleyball team Kaseson takes on Uganda’s St Elizabeth, Mbarara in their opening pool A match before playing Kajunjumele of Tanzania and Rwanda’s IPRC Kigali.
In boys’ volleyball where Uganda are the defending champions, Kenya’s winners Cheptil take on Uganda’s Manugongo in their opening match. Another Kenyan side Namwela face Rwanda’s ESSA Nyangunga in their opener.
In boys’ basketball, Kenya's newly crowned national champions Dr Aggrey, under the tutelage of coach Kevin Maima, face an acid test when they take on defending champions Buddo of Uganda in their opening match.
Dr Aggrey’s captain Daniel Bol, who was crowned the most valuable player at the national games in Nakuru, said his team is ready to do national duty.
“The team is hungry for victory and a win against the champions will instill more confidence ahead of the subsequent matches,” said Bol.
Dr Aggrey will also play Nsumba and Trust St Patrick’s, both from Tanzania in pool A.
The other Kenyan team, Dagoretti Mixed, play Lycee de Kigali of Rwanda in a pool B match before facing Bethal Covenant and St Cyprian Kyabakadde, both from Uganda.
Kenya’s girls’ basketball queens Kaya Tiwi take on Tanzania’s Kibasila before returning to play champions St Mary’s Kitende and Buddo, both from Uganda in pool A matches.
Kaya Tiwi captain Babra Diana said they have what it takes to win the crown.
“We are aware of what awaits us in Arusha but we are ready for our opponents,” said the captain.
Olympic from Kenya are in pool B alongside Orkeeswa of Tanzania, Rwanda’s Lycee de Kigali and Nabisunsa and champions St Noa, both of Uganda.
Kenya will also be looking forward to extend their dominance in athletics, swimming, rugby, boys’ hockey, girls handball and racquet games. [Ernest Ndunda]