SCHOOLS: Who will stop St Mary's School Yala's haka in Kakamega?

St Mary's School Yala performs their version of the 'haka' after winning the Nyanza Region rugby sevens title.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

When St Mary's School Yala performed their version of the 'haka', no team could stop them as they strolled to glory and retained the Nyanza Region Secondary School rugby sevens title.

The 'haka' is a traditional Maori war dance and chant that the New Zealand rugby team, known as the All Blacks, performs before the start of a rugby match.

This powerful and awe-inspiring ritual is meant to intimidate and challenge their opponents, both mentally and emotionally, creating a sense of fear and trepidation that can have a psychological impact on the opposing team.

The Yala haka indeed scared away heavyweights including Homa Bay champions Agoro Sare, Siaya's royalty Ambira High School, Migori's Kanga and rugby 15s regional champions Kisii School as they won the rugby sevens title with ease in Bondo two weeks ago.

St Mary's School Yala performs their version of the 'haka' after winning the Nyanza Region rugby sevens title.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

It is with the same intention that Yala head coach Kenneth Mukok said they want to approach the national finals set to kick off next week on Tuesday in Kakamega County.

Speaking to Standard Sports yesterday, Mukok said they are ready for the finals and are eagerly waiting for the draws set to be done on Monday to know whom they will be facing.

"Our haka is a display of strength, unity, and pride. It might not be perfect like that of the All Blacks but it surely lifts us up when the team is down on morale and eventually even scares away formidable teams.

"We are ready for the finals as the goal remains getting to East Africa championships. We have come from far and the journey is just beginning," said the English Literature teacher.

St Mary's School Yala Principal Victor Makanda (center) joins his students in performing the 'haka' after winning the Nyanza Region rugby sevens title.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

In the realm of both educational leadership and sports prowess, one name shines brightly: Victor Makanda, the Principal of St. Mary's School Yala.

With his visionary guidance and unwavering dedication, Makanda has orchestrated a remarkable transformation that has not only seen the school's rugby sevens team qualify for the national finals but has also set the course for St. Mary's to ascend as an academic giant and a centre of sports excellence.

Under Makanda's inspiring leadership, the St. Mary's rugby sevens team embarked on a journey of relentless training, strategic planning, and unwavering determination.

His hands-on approach, combined with a profound understanding of the game, breathed new life into the team.

St Mary's Yala players go through the paces with their modern gym weights.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

Through rigorous practice sessions, tactical workshops, and personalised coaching, he nurtured a sense of camaraderie and instilled a winning mindset within the players.

The fruits of Makanda's labour quickly became evident as St. Mary's rugby sevens team secured a triumphant path to the national finals.

Their journey was not only a testament to their skill and resilience but also a reflection of Makanda's guidance and unyielding support.

His commitment to fostering both personal growth and collective excellence propelled the team to this remarkable achievement.

"My aspirations for St. Mary's School Yala extend far beyond the rugby field. I envision the institution as a thriving hub of academic brilliance and sports prowess.

"Through strategic partnerships and innovative curriculum development, we have already began to establish St. Mary's as both an academic and sports giant," said the former St Anthony's Boys Kitale boss.

St Mary's Yala Principal Victor Makanda (center) lines up with his rugby team and coaches.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

Makanda who led Barding in winning the 2016 East Africa football title and St Anthony's 2019 national football title said while he missed out in football, he is ready to inspire Yala in rugby sevens, a title they have never won.

In his quest to make Yala a centre of sports excellence, Makanda has implemented comprehensive sports programs that cater to a wide range of disciplines.

From athletics to basketball, from football to hockey, Makanda's vision encompasses a holistic approach to physical development and sporting achievement. He has invested in state-of-the-art sports facilities, ensuring that students have the resources they need to hone their skills and pursue their passions.

St Mary's Yala players go through the paces with their modern gym weights.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

Makanda's promise to uplift and change the fortunes of St. Mary's School Yala is not merely a slogan but a tangible reality.

His tireless efforts, strategic thinking, and unshakeable belief in the potential of every student have ignited a transformative journey that is rewriting the school's narrative.

As both an academic beacon and a sports powerhouse, St. Mary's under Makanda's leadership is poised to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of education and sports in the region.

In the annals of St. Mary's School Yala's history, the name Victor Makanda will forever be synonymous with progress, inspiration, and a commitment to excellence. His legacy is one of empowerment, achievement, and the unrelenting pursuit of greatness.

St Mary's Yala players go through the paces with their modern gym weights.[Washington Onyango,Standard]

Western region will produce four teams to the nationals namely; Koyonzo, Vihiga, Bungoma and Kimobo. North Eastern will not have rugby representatives and therefore their slots were given to the host region.

From the Coast, Garashi and Shimba Hills will fly the Swahili flag as Alliance and Kiambu High represent the Central Region.

2017 champions Menengai and Bwake Boys will represent Rift Valley as 2016 and 2019 champions Upper Hill and Lenana do duty for Nairobi Region. Eastern will have Kitondo and Kangaru School.

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