EA kings Kenya, Uganda set to dominate again
Stanley Mativo in Arusha, Tanzania
The Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (FEASSSA) games will return to Tanzania for the first time since 2014 when the week-long competition kicks off from August 17 to 26.
As the clock ticks to this year’s event that will mark the 18th edition of the inter-schools competition to be held in Arusha, we take a look at how Kenya and Uganda have reigned supreme in the past years.
In the Northern Tanzanian town, Kenya will be eyeing to bag a hat-trick of overall titles in three years after claiming 28 team medals; 10 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze during last year’s showpiece held in Rwanda.
Uganda came a close second after bagging a total of 25; nine gold, 10 silver and six bronze while the hosts Rwanda collected 16 medals with four of them gold, five silver and seven bronze.
The event which will be held in seven venues around the Northern Tanzanian town is poised to attract over 3000 students from schools which starred during the National games in six East African countries.
The annual championship is attracting six countries including Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Rwanda where titles in volleyball, handball, football, basketball, rugby 7s, rugby 15s, swimming, hockey, athletics, netball and racket games titles are at stake.
Apart of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda who featured in 2018 edition held in Musanze, Rwanda; both hosts Tanzania and Burundi are making a comeback after missing the 2018 games.
Tanzania alongside South Sudan- who are also not participating in Arusha-cited financial constraints due to lack of government support for their withdrawals while Burundi’s participation was curtailed by the country’s sour diplomatic relationship with the neighbours Rwanda.
By virtue of being the defending champions in Rugby 7s, 15s and volleyball girls’, Kenya will be represented by three teams in the disciplines while in the others only two will fly Kenya’s flag each.
Malawi football boys team SLB School will be gracing the event as invited guests since the country does not belong to East Africa community.
Kenya’s dominance in Rugby, Volleyball and Hockey
Kenya has reigned supreme in both rugby 7s and 15s versions in many years with Kenyan teams only second to themselves.
In rugby 15s, it has been a Kenyan affair for the last seven years and in the last two years the finals have been dominated by Kenyan teams.
In 2017, Laiser Hill defeated champions and multiple winners Kakamega to clinch their first ever regional title while also Nairobi based Upper Hill inflicted another defeat to the western based team in the last year’s finals.
It’s only in 2009 and 2011 when Kenya failed to win the rugby 15’s title. In 2009, Hana School from Uganda emerged champions after defeating Mangú Boys in the finals held in Portland, Uganda before they reclaimed their title in 2011 at the expense of the same opponent.
This year, where Kenya is also expected to dominate, five-time champions Kakamega, returnees Kangaru School and newbies Dagoretti will be out to extend Kenya’s dominance in Arusha.
With the absence of the defending champions, Upper Hill, national champions Kakamega are the top seeds as they hunt their sixth title which has eluded them since 2016.
In rugby 7s, it’s only St. Famille of Rwanda who has stood between Kenyan’s success after stunning Kangaru in 2015 to clinch the first edition of the version.
St. Peters Mumias, Muhuri Muchiri and defending champions Upper Hill –all Kenyan teams-have respectively dominated since 2016.
In last year, Upper Hill who swept both versions, stood high against Kakamega in the finals.
This year, the Thomas Wagwe coached side will be out to win their second title in successive years and are penciled to launch Kenya’s assault alongside domestic rivals Laiser Hill and St. Peters Mumias.
In volleyball girl’s contest, four-time winners Kwanthanze have dominated in the last two years and they will eyeing a third title in successive three years.
Other representatives for Kenya in the category are Cheptil and Soweto who finished second and third respectively in the Term Two national games.
Whilst Kenya has dominated in girl’s volleyball, for boys just like the men’s national volleyball team versus Malkia Strikers-they have posted mixed results over the years.
In last year’s finals, Kenyan teams did not even reach the finals with Rwanda and Uganda proving to be ready to dominate in the bit the coming years.
Rusumo of Rwanda defeated Luyanzi College to win the title. The last time a Kenyan team won was in 2017 when Malava Boys spiked Apapen of Rwanda 3-0 to bag the last title for Kenya.
New national champions Mogonga and runners up Lelmwokwo will represent Kenya in boy’s category in Arusha.
In hockey, Kenya has been a force to reckon with in both categories scooping the top two spots year in year out.
Since 2007, Kenyan teams have dominated with much ease with Trans Nzoia Girls and St.Anthony Boys ruling in last year’s edition.
Uganda the kings of football and netball
Uganda has been the top echelons in football boys’ for many years with Barding and St. Anthony from Kenya the only sides to have wrestled the title from the neigbouring country.
Barding won in 2016 after edging serial winners St. Mary’s Kitende when Kenya hosted the games while St. Anthony clinched the first edition of the competition in 2002 defeating Kibuli of Uganda in the games played in Nairobi and they will be eyeing a second title after a long hiatus.
The national champions St Anthony are scheduled to hunt the elusive title against defending champions Buddo of Uganda, Standard High School also from Uganda and hosts Lindi Secondary School while fellow Kenyans Dagoretti are paired alongside 12-time champions St Mary’s Kitende of Uganda, Malawi’s SLB School and Ruwuiko School from Tanzania.
In netball, Uganda has never relinquished their title since 2002 with power house St. Mary’s Kitende winning it record 14-times.