Kwanthanze, a Well that never dries

As the Term Two Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) championship head to the finals in the County level today in all the 47-counties, four-time Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Championship (FEASSA) volleyball champions Kwanthanze Girls head coach Justin Kigwari is already training his guns for the prestigious National and East Africa titles.

After the county stage, the competition will enter regional level starting from next week but of significance though for Kigwari, who has turned Kwanthanze to be a force to reckon with in volleyball since he joined the Machakos based team in 2010, is the National gong and a fifth East Africa triumph but first he will have to defend the county and Eastern region titles.

Kwanthanze will take on Vyulya Girls this afternoon in Machakos County games finals to be held at Tala Boys and with the two finalists already qualified for the Eastern region games set for Makueni Boys from June 17-23, Kigwari is beaming with confidence his charges will reign supreme again.

“Its not like I’m not taking County and regional levels seriously but I know what I want and I’m confident with my team that’s why I’m dreaming of the national and East Africa titles as early as now,” Kigwari charged.

Ever since winning their maiden national crown in Embu in 2013 and successfully defending it in Kakamega the following year, Kwanthanze have dominated not only in Kenya but also in East Africa.

They followed their heroics in Embu by lifting their first ever region title in Lira, Uganda before defending it in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2014.

The team, which is located just few kilometers from Machakos town, has won four East Africa titles in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 thus catapulting their name to the lights at home and across region.

“This year we are going for nothing but clean sweep although I know my opponents are prepared to defeat us and end our supremacy but we are ready to fight,” Kigwari breathed fire.

During this year’s AMACO Tournament held last month in Eldoret, Kwanthanze lost 3-1 sets to arch-rivals Cheptil in school category in the finals but that is seemingly not a big deal as they know when to spike.

New blood

Kigwari added that after his side was deprived of squad depth last year, he has added new faces from Form One to the roaster as he seeks to build yet another all-conquering team after losing four of his top guns that completed their High School studies in 2018, all signing with the former Kenyan Volleyball Federation women’s league champions Kenya Pipeline.

The quartet of Betty Sifuna, Esther Mutinda, Gladys Ekaru and Metrine Wanjala were recruited by the Embakasi based team in February this year.

In 2017, the school -renowned for producing potent talent- was a feeder to many local clubs with fast-rising Malkia Strikers and Kenya Pipeline attacker Sharon Jepchumba, who took home the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2017 national and East Africa, Jane Mumbua of DCI  and KCB’s Lorraine Chebet among those who graduated from the school that year.

Under former Principal and Athletics Kenya Senior Vice-president, Paul Mutwii, Kwanthanze also shaped World class running talent including the Bydgoszcz 2008 IAAF World Junior 3000m steeplechase champions, Jonathan Ndiku and Christine Kambua Muyanga.

Elizabeth Mueni, who won women 3000m steeplechase silver at the same championship, also hailed from the same school that made history by having five of its student make the national team for the top junior event.

This year’s Nationals will be held in Kisumu running from July 26 to August 4 with East Africa action taking place from August 12-26 in Arusha, Tanzania.

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