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SPORTS

Why Cheptil can’t wait for resumption of school games

VOLLEYBALL AND HANDBALL By Stephen Rutto | September 7th 2021
Cheptil secondary school head teacher Daniel Ngetich holding trophies won by volleyball teams ,June 2021.The school has been emerging the champions for over years. [Christopher Kipsang,Standard]

The volleyball courts are so conspicuous that any visitor would spot them even before catching a glimpse of the institution’s administration block and classrooms.

Welcome to Cheptil Secondary School, Kenya’s volleyball powerhouse in the Rift Valley that has finished second seven times in East Africa secondary schools games.

The three courts are no grandiose, but the volleyball names that have trained in the field are bigger than the mixed school located within Mosop area in Nandi.

It is about 4:30pm – games time and the training session is already serving off, with girls on one court and boys in the other.

Kenya's Cheptile High School's Asca Jepkoech (left) and Benedine Chepngetich blocking Penina Betty (centre) of Soweto Academy during the 18th edition of East African Secondary Schools Sports in Arusha, Tanzania on Friday Aug 17, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Along the touchlines is a team of coaches comprising games teachers and a technical assistant.

In Cheptil, volleyball is more than a tradition, it is almost a religion. Nearly every student relishes the sport. The girls have stolen the limelight more than boys.

But winning the East Africa secondary schools games title remains a tall order for Cheptil.

From Malkia striker’s captain, Mercy Moim to Kenya Defence Forces’ Dismas Rono and Truphosa Samoei of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Cheptil has churned a remarkably long list of volleyball stars, unceasingly feeding leading national clubs with talent.

Almost all clubs in the Kenya Volleyball Federation national league have a player from Cheptil.

Talk of Paul Gitau-coached Kenya Pipeline, KDF, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Prisons, Equity and Administration Police, among other top clubs, Cheptil’s talents are proudly writing history.

In the Rift Valley region, the institution took the baton from former giants Paul Boit Secondary School and has sustained the volleyball momentum since 2006.

The team faded away in the East Africa Games since 2014, but bounced back in 2018, losing to Kwanthanze in the 2019 finals in Arusha, Tanzania. Cheptil was a dominant force in the regional showpiece between 2006 and 2013. They have played at the East African stage since 2002.

“For the last two years, we have not had matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are, however, bringing back the joy of volleyball as we strategise on how to do our best in the coming season,” said the school’s coach and games master, Fredrick Were.

According to Were, winning the coveted East Africa school games title has been their dream and won’t relent until they achieve that goal.

“We have won several matches and produced volleyball players who have represented Kenya in various international championships. Our girls’ teams have been shining over the years. The boys have been trying too. Our eyes are on the ball. We pray for school competitions to resume soon,” said Were.

Cheptil finished runner-up four times in a row; from 2006 to 2009, then again in 2011, 2012 and 2019.

 

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