How Sigalame rose to become basketball giants

Collins Powell once said a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. That is exactly what Sigalame High school Principal Joseph Were was thinking when he was appointed to take over the school in 2008.

Located at the slopes of Funyula Hills in  Busia County  Sigalame High School has risen against the odds and proved to the world that basketball  doesn’t belong to those in the city. The school’s principal Mr Were who doubles up as the coach explain how the journey began.

 “I requested the are MP to help us built an all weather basketball court through CDF, that one alone motivated the players to join the school team .

Being the principal I didn’t have a lot of time to train the school team, but in the year 2015 that’s when I became serious after realizing the potential in the boys.

I started a form 1 team with most of the players from Nairobi and to many people’s   surprise they reached the regional’s.

That is the team that has grown up to last year so, the nurturing from form one to four is what has brought the fruits that we are reaping now,” said Mr Were.

Having missed out for the nationals in 2017 for fielding an ineligible player Sigalame bounced back stronger last year in the Western region school games   defeating Chavakali in finals to book a place for nationals.

The little know  Western champions went all the way to the finals and  faced seven   times national champions Laiser Hill and lost  65-48 but both teams represented Kenya in the East African school games held in Rwanda  .

The coach tell us what he did different from the previous years

 “As a coach I have a very strict   program and always insist on the players running the game first enough and make quick scores, since we are not much gifted with height our speed is what we capitalize on.

These area   is very hilly so during off season they go for mountain climbing, basically to improving their speed and build stamina.

We also participate in the very highly competitive pre season tournament like the Allan Bradely played at Friends School Kamusinga, that prepares  us very well and we have been the champions for the past three years including these year ,”added Were.

They say the key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it  ,as the school principal Mr Were knows the importance of academic for his student and he keeps encouraging them to balance  field and class work.

 “For me academic comes first I expect my players to give 100% on the pitch and do the same in class, that’s why  I give them talks  on the importance of balancing the two because there is life after basketball ,”said the former Friend School Kamusinga coach.

With the nationals secondary school ball games set to begin from the 8th – 14th of April at the Shanzu Technical College   and Shimo La  Tewa  Sigalame will for the second time be representing Western region and the coach has  message to his rivals .

“We need to have more coaches who are teachers ,now days  many schools are hiring outsiders, a teacher appeals more to the students especially  discipline  wise and even when in need for counseling  .

As for the nationals in Mombasa Mr Were said:  “I will tell them Sigalame will still be strong and trending in Kenyan basketball because of the good transition structure, we are aiming the national and East Africa titles nothing else ,” Mr Were told Citizen Digital .