It's time to walk the talk as national school games begin in Machakos

Kisii School perform their version of the 'Haka' after winning the Nyanza Region rugby 15s title. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

After a week filled with bold statements and high spirits, the time for talk is over as the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) national Term One games begin at Machakos Boys High School.

The air is charged with anticipation as heavyweights and newcomers alike prepare to showcase their prowess in a spectacle of sportsmanship and talent.

In the lead-up to the nationals, traditional powerhouses such as Nyamira Girls in hockey, Agoro Sare in basketball, and Butula Boys in rugby, have been vocal about their intentions to maintain their dominance.

Meanwhile, emerging forces like Ringa in hockey, Ulanda Girls in handball, and Kisumu Girls in rugby have shared their ambitions to make a mark and prove their capabilities on this grand stage.

Day one promises a feast of top-tier match-ups across rugby, basketball, and hockey, drawing fans and enthusiasts to witness the culmination of weeks of preparation and strategy.

In rugby, the spotlight shines on defending champions Butula Boys as they face off against Nyanza Region champions Kisii School in a highly anticipated Group A clash.

Butula Boys, from Western Region, enter the match with confidence and a game plan aimed at securing an early advantage.

"Our strategy is to build on solid defense and quick counter-attacks. We respect Kisii School's prowess, but we are here to defend our title and start strong," said Butula coach Fredrick Shimenga.

Basketball sees a revival of the intense rivalry between Laiser Hill and Dagoretti High School.

Meanwhile, Agoro Sare are gearing up for a compelling face-off against Dr Aggrey from Coast region.

Agoro Sare's coach, Benson Ochieng, reveals a glimpse into their game plan, saying; "Our eyes are set beyond the nationals; we're aiming for the East Africa crown. But first, we must navigate through teams like Dr Aggrey with our fast-paced play and tight defense."

In handball, Ulanda Girls from Migori County, the new handball champions of Nyanza, are set to make their national debut.

Facing a challenging pool against Murindiko Baptist, Nyathuna Secondary, and North Eastern in Group B, Ulanda's head coach, George Achola, is optimistic about their preparation.

"We're not here just to participate; we aim to compete at the highest level. Our girls are ready, and we've developed a game plan that we believe will serve us well against Nyathuna Secondary in our opener."

Hockey introduces Ringa Boys from Homa Bay, the newly crowned Nyanza Region champions, who are gearing up for their first appearance at the nationals with a match against St Charles Lwanga from the Coast.

Ringa coach Tolbart Kannah said he's delighted with the chance of playing at the highest level.

"This being our first time here, we're eager to prove ourselves. Our approach is to play aggressively and make our presence felt from the first whistle."

The rugby girls' category will see Kisumu Girls, under the guidance of coach Paul Nyamita, strive to establish their dominance in Group A, starting against Western champions Mwira Girls.

"Our strategy revolves around speed and teamwork. We've prepared meticulously, and our goal is to kick off the games with a victory that sets the tone for our campaign," said Nyamita.

In the lead-up to the national finals, all eyes are will also be on the formidable St Joseph Girls Kitale team as they set their sights on toppling the reigning champions, Nyamira Girls, from their lofty perch.

St. Joseph Girls Kitale, the champions of Rift Valley, carry with them the momentum of last year’s national finals held in Eldoret, where they secured a commendable bronze.

However, this year, the stakes are higher, and the hunger for national glory is palpable. Under the stewardship of head coach John Lusaka, the team is aiming to upset the established hierarchy and clinch the top spot from the giants of the game.

Lusaka, a man of both vision and meticulous planning, shared insights into the rigorous preparations that have set the foundation for their ambitious quest.

“Our training sessions have been intense, focusing on physical fitness, set pieces including short corners, and penalty strokes. Moreover, our mental preparation has been key. We believe in our capabilities and are mentally fortified to take on the challenges ahead,” he said, exuding confidence and determination.

The path to glory is fraught with challenges, beginning with the preliminary stages where St. Joseph Girls Kitale finds itself in Group B, alongside formidable opponents such as St Charles Lwanga from the Coast, St Joseph Kibwezi, and Mpesa Foundation.

By AFP 3 hrs ago
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