KSSSA National Games in Mombasa: What to expect

The Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) Term One National School Games will return to Mombasa County for the first time since 2014 when the week-long extravaganza kicks off on April 8.

As teams sharpen up for their upcoming battles, we take a look at some of the changes and facts to note for this year’s event that will mark the 29th edition of the annual inetr-schools competition.

At stake will be tickets to the East African Games that will be staged in Mwanza, Tanzania in August.


The event which will be held at Shimo La Tewa and Shanzu Teachers Training College, is poised to attract 1,912 participants from over 100 schools which starred during their respective regional level in the country’s eight regions.

The Term One action is featuring; basketball, hockey, rugby 15’s, rugby 7’s, swimming, handball, cross-country and athletics while Term Two Games will comprise of netball, football U16 & U19, volleyball and racket games.

All the regions will be represented in each discipline for both boys and girls except North Eastern region which does not provide  teams for Rugby and Hockey thus the host region (Coast) will field two teams in hockey, two in Rugby 15’s and four in Rugby Sevens.

Players who will battle it out in this year’s edition must  be 19 years old and below or must be born on or after September 1 1999.

Battle Royal in Rugby

After KSSSA decided to have Rugby 15’s and Rugby 7’s done in term one together, the discipline will highlight the show as the bigwigs battle for the titles.

Every region except North Eastern will have one team for 15’s whilst 7’s will consist of winners and runners up from each region.

Last year’s 15’s champions Upper Hill will shift their focus on clinching 7’s title after they were dethroned by fast-rising Dagoretti in Nairobi regional finals for the 15’s version.

Upper Hill will however face a baptism of fire as it will not be a walk in the park to wrestle the 15’s title from champions Laiser Hill of Rift Valley.

Fresh from clinching Western 15’s version title, 2017champions and regulars Kakamega will also be in contention for the title alongside Eastern champions Kangaru, Dagoretti of Nairobi, Nyanza’s Maseno and Alliance from Central.

In 7’s version contest, the 2015 national and East Africa winners St. Peters Mumias will be eyeing to reclaim their title after winning against fellow Western region representative Vihiga High School in the regional finals.

Also to watch out is Muvuti of Eastern, Shimba Hills from Coast, Chianda of Nyanza and Central’s Kerugoya Boys after lifting the respective regional titles.

2019 Changes

Early this year in a circular, KSSSA in conjunction with Ministry of Education announced some changes in this year’s School Games calendar.

For instance, the association turned to National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) as its latest weapon in the fight to end age cheating and impersonation at the championships.

To achieve that, schools will be required to enter names of players and their Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) onto a special team list alongside other details before they can be allowed to compete.

At the same time, KSSSA reduced the number of foreign players to be included in a school’s team effective from this year.

According to the new rules, the school games governing body has restricted Kenyan international schools from fielding more than three foreign players during their competitions.

The move that is aimed at giving Kenyan youth an opportunity to showcase their talent has slashed the number of foreign students to three per discipline.

KSSSA also limited the number of players that a school can transfer from another school. Consequently, no school will be allowed to transfer more than 2 players from another (same) school.

Meanwhile, Decathlon and heptathlon was expunged from the calendar with Cross Country taking place in term one.

Rugby 15s which traditionally have been played in term two was brought to term one alongside Rugby 7s.The number of participants in Rugby 15s however has been reduced to twenty (20), while in Rugby 7s reduced to eleven (11).

From the 90s till 2012, the 15s game was traditionally played in Term Two and the 7s game in Term One. That was however switched from 2013; the 7s being played in Term Two and 15s game in Term One.

Apart from changing the structure of the competition, this year’s championship will also enjoy full funding by the government. Previously, individual schools remitted funds to county education offices to organise the games.

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