The stage is set for the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association, KSSSA, games that will officially kick off on Tuesday, April 25- 29 at Hill School and Moi Girls in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

Teams arrived Monday and held light training at the venue ahead of the games which will officially be opened by Education Principal Secretary (PS) Belio Kipsang. 

Over 2,000 students are expected to participate in six disciplines namely; rugby 15s, basketball, netball, hockey, athletics and swimming.

However, focus will be on Rugby 15s, with a new champion set to be crowned after defending champions Kakamega High School were eliminated at the Western Region Term One games. 

In Pool A, three-time champions Mang’u High from Central will face stiff competition from debutants Ofafa Jericho from Nairobi- who defeated 2018 champions Upper Hill in the Nairobi Region finals- and All Saints Embu High from Eastern.

Rift Valley representatives, St. Patrick High, Iten will also be making another appearance at the finals. 

Pool B has Butula Boys, who will be their maiden appearance in the 15s competition and will face fellow debutants St. Anthony’s Boys High School, Kitale representing Rift Valley, Nyanza’s Kisii High, and Kwale High School from Coast Region. 

In basketball, Pool A will see Friends School Kamusinga from Western face off with Thika High from Central, Nairobi champions Dagoretti High and Lukenya from Eastern while Laiser Hill from Rift Valley, Nyanza’s Onjiko High and Coast’s Dr. Aggrey High will feature in pool B.

In the boys’ hockey, Pool A has St. Anthony from Rift Valley, Nyanza’s Maseno School, Meru School from Eastern and Nairobi School. In Pool B, Mang’u High School will face off with Kapsabet Boys, St. Charles Lwanga, and Musingu. 

In girls’ hockey, a new winner will be crowned in the absence defending champions Trans Nzoia Mixed. 2017 winners St. Josephs Kitale will square it out with St. Charles Lwanga from the Coast in Pool A, which also features former champions Hillcrest and Nyamira Girls from Nyanza. 

In Pool B, Afraha will highlight Pool B, alongside Tigoi, who won silver in 2016 and 2018, Loreto Girls and AIC Nyayo Girls. 

St. Joseph Girls team manager Linah Barasa says she will not underestimate any team that has made it to the finals. 

“We believe that each participant in this tournament is a winner, we are taking every team as a strong,” Barasa said. 

On his part, Tigoi head oach said “I’ve been away for five years and I cannot just come to participate. My target is to lift the trophy”. 

KSSSA Secretary General David Ngugi says all the teams have arrived and the grounds are all ready for the event where he vowed to ensure cases of age cheating remain a thing of the past, following the introduction of NEMIS. 

“When you enter school, you’re given a NEMIS number, which has all your details. In case there is an issue like that (age cheating), we’ll take stern action against the teacher involved and the school”. 

The national championship resumes fully for Terms One and Two, after a two-year disruption by Covid-19 pandemic.

By Fred Azelwa.