Marafa School ready to rattle heavyweights in national games

Marafa Secondary School from Malindi. [Ernest Ndunda, Standard]

If you dream big, work hard and accept all the highs and lows that come your way, you will get it if you don't quit.

This is what little-known Marafa Secondary School in Malindi believed as they vanquished all opponents from the sub county to Coast region games, before they were crowned new Coast secondary schools rugby champions.

Marafa's qualification to the national games, which begin next week in Machakos, was secured last week after they won the regional title for the first time.

Interestingly, Marafa, who are coached by former Kakamega High School alumni Erick Atitwa, proved that growth of rugby at the school was not by fluke.

Theirs has been one journey that they'll live to remember. It has not been any easy for the school from Malindi.

The sacrifices they made and torturous hours they put in their campaign were not in vain as they were crowned new Coast region champions.

The school pulled major upsets including eliminating heavyweights such as Shimo La Tewa, Shimba Hills, Waa High School and Timbila.

In the final match, Marafa silenced Tana River County champions Oda school 9-0. On their way to the final, Marafa stopped Waa 9-0, while Oda narrowly hit Shimo La Tewa 8-7.

"I introduced rugby at Marafa Boys last year and I even participated in the Prescott Cup, where we lost at the final to Malindi High School. I was previously a teacher at Garashi Secondary School also in Malindi and managed to take them to the national games since 2016," said Atitwa.

"Our preparations have been going on well and we have been using the offshores of the Indian Ocean to train for endurance. We have made it clear that qualifications for the knockout stages is next on our to-do list in Machakos," added the coach.

"My expectation is to pull a surprise at the nationals by defeating some known rugby super boys. I played rugby at Kakamega High School and our coach then made me understand what is needed to qualify for for the nationals as a player and even as a tactician," added Atitwa.

He said the school principal Seif Juma has played a vital role in their success as he continues to provide the team with the right diet after intense training, saying it paid off well.

"The boys were eating enough proteins and carbohydrates to keep them moving on from one intense exercise to another. We want to put the name of our school in the history books at the national level," said the coach.

"I come from areas where rugby has grown exponentially but I have imparted the value of extended training sessions in my team and the players have worked hard to get to where they are now," said the coach.

"My biggest challenge at the national level will be climate shocks that may pull back my boys who are used to hot weather," he added.

Captain Kalama Kahindi said discipline at the team has been a guiding principle to the success of the team.

"My message to our opponents is clear. Underrate us at your own peril," said Kahindi.

The coach will bank on his blindside winger Ali Doyo, Raymond Chadi, Ali Kondo, Faraj Fondo and scrumhalf player Evans Baya, among others, for success in Machakos.


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