Kenya will be seeking to reclaim the team title from Uganda after relinquishing the crown in 2019, which was the last time the games were held, coincidentally in Arusha. The last two editions of the games were suspended due to Covid-19. Arusha comes alive on Friday as the 19th edition of the East Africa Secondary Schools Games gets underway across various venues.
Secondary schools from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the hosts will battle for honours in football, rugby sevens and 15s, basketball, hockey, volleyball, handball, netball, swimming, athletics, racquet games and the newly introduced 3-3 basketball.over the next eight days.
Kenya will be seeking to reclaim the team title from Uganda after relinquishing the crown in 2019, which was the last time the games were held, coincidentally in Arusha.
Uganda won a total of 27 medals – 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze – to pip Kenya, who also had the same number of total medals. However, the country’s 10 gold, 11 silver and six bronze were not enough to see them defend their crown.
Rwanda were placed third after bagging two gold, two silver and six bronze for a final tally of 10 medals. Hosts Tanzania wound up in fourth spot with a total of five medals as Zanzibar and newcomers Malawi finished in fifth and sixth place with no medals.
Burundi and South Sudan will not send teams to this year’s event just like in 2019 leaving Kenya, Uganda Rwanda and the hosts to do battle in the week-long event.
Organisers, Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (Feasssa), have expressed their delight at the resumption of the games after Covid-19 disrupted the last two edition.
“We can’t wait to get started after two years without action. I know the schools are ready to do battle and show how much they have missed competing against each other. I thank the various federations for ensuring that their teams take part,” said Feasssa president Justus Mugisha on Thursday via phone from Arusha.
The Kenyan contingent were due to arrive in Arusha last evening after leaving Nakuru, where they had been since the conclusion of the Kenya Secondary Schools Term Two Games on Monday.
Kenya faces a tough task of reclaiming the title from Uganda, who resumed their competitions last year, and have largest representation this time around.
Kenya has won 16 of the last editions, with Uganda winning two and the fierce neighbours again are expected to be the top dogs at this year’s event.
Boys’ football success has eluded Kenya for many years with Uganda’s St Mary’s Kitende holding the record with 14 titles.
Kenya won the boys’ football title only twice since the inaugural edition in 2002 through St Anthony’s Boys High School, Kitale (2022) and Barding High School (2016).
The country will also be aiming to win back the girls’ football title from Uganda.
Debutantes Ebwali Secondary School and Highway Secondary School will be tasked with returning the coveted boys’ football title back home.
Kenya also shocking lost the girls’ hockey title to Uganda’s Kakungulu Memorial, the first time since the discipline was introduced at the games in 2005.
Kiwira Coal Mines (Tanzania) v Highway Secondary School (Kenya)
Dagoretti Mixed (Kenya) v Alliance Secondary School (Tanzania)
Kawempe Muslim (Uganda) v IP Mukarange (Rwanda)
Juhudi Secondary School (Tanzania) v Lycee De Kigali Secondary School (Rwanda)
Dagoretti High School (Kenya) v Bethel Covenant (Uganda)
Kaya Tiwi (Kenya) v Kibasila (Tanzania)
St. Mary’s, Kitende (Uganda) v Buddo Secondary School (Uganda)
St. Noa Girls (Uganda) v Olympic Secondary School (Kenya)
Lycee de Kigali (Rwanda) v Nabisunsa Girls (Uganda)