Former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
For Maseno School, they believe they can return to the top despite being in the cold for almost a decade.
It has been nine years since Maseno School grabbed the headlines for winning national rugby Sevens title.
The Nyanza Region rugby Sevens runner-up hit Laiser Hill Academy 17-12 to win their second national gong when the games were hosted at Kisii School in 2014.
Nobody thought that victory in Gusiiland would be their last and head coach Steve Oluoch is keen on awakening the sleeping giant from its ruins.
Speaking during an interview with Standard Sports, Oluoch said they are hungry for the national games, which they’ve watched from the sidelines for the past five years.
Despite finishing runner-up at the Nyanza Region Secondary School games last week, Oluoch said they have the quality to topple teams and they will not stop at anything short of the title.
Clinical and hungry
“We played really well despite many people not rooting for us to qualify for the nationals. The boys proved themselves in every match except the final, where we were a little bit relaxed possibly because we had already qualified for the nationals by virtue of playing at the final,” said Oluoch, who is also the Western Region referees chairman.
“It will be a different story in Kakamega where we have to be aggressive, clinical and hungry. The goal now shifts to not only winning the national trophy, but also chasing East Africa qualification slot.”
Maseno School principal Peter Owino, who has been at the forefront in helping the team prepare for the national games by offering administrative support, said the school not only wants to be top when it comes to academic excellence, but also seek sports excellence.
Owino, who joined Maseno last year in January, said he loves sports because it instills discipline, teamwork, perseverance, and time management – qualities that are fundamental to success, both in academics and in life.
“We strive for academic excellence but also embrace the importance of sports in the development of well-rounded students,” he said.
“The sport of rugby is not just a game; it embodies the essence of teamwork, discipline, and resilience. The students have demonstrated these qualities on and off the field, and I commend for their commitment to representing our school with honor and sportsmanship.”
“The strength of our team lies not only in individual talent but in the synergy and camaraderie they create together. Their commitment, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport have already made us proud and I trust we are yet to see the best at the nationals,” said Owino.
Maseno, who lost 5-0 to St Mary’s School Yala, will be looking forward to know their pool when the draw is conducted on August 6.
Meanwhile, national Sevens champions Koyonzo Secondary School are confident of retaining the title they won last year.
Koyonzo are yet to lose a match this year. On their way to the national games, they have won every match they’ve played in.
“The goal has been one all along; to retain the national rugby Sevens title. So far, there have been no hurdles for us and we want to show the nation that we did not win last year’s title by fluke,” said Koyonzo coach Elly Okwemba.
Only Maseno School, Kakamega High School and Upper Hill have won the national Sevens title twice since the Seven-aside match was introduced in the schools sports calendar in 2011. As it stands, Western region will produce four teams to the nationals; these are Koyonzo, Vihiga, Bungoma and Kimobo. North Eastern will not have rugby representatives, which means the slot will be filled by the host region.
From Coast, Garashi and Shimba Hills will fly the region’s flag as Alliance and Kiambu High represent Central Region.
2017 champions Menengai and Bwake Boys will represent Rift Valley, while 2016 and 2019 champions Upper Hill and Lenana do duty for Nairobi Region.
Eastern will have Kitondo and Kangaru School.
Nyanza Region rugby sevens runners up
2011 National rugby sevens champions
2014 National rugby sevens champions
2023 KSSSA National Rugby qualified teams
Western- Koyonzo, Vihiga, Bungoma and Kimobo.
Coast-Garashi and Shimba Hills
Central Region-Alliance and Kiambu High
Rift Valley- Menengai and Bwake Boys
Nairobi Region-Upper Hill and Lenana
Eastern-Kitondo and Kangaru School.
(NB: North Eastern will not have rugby representatives and therefore their slots were given to the host region.)