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January 17, 2019

Kakamega focused

Upper Hill’s Meshak Oluoch tackles Bakari Hassan of Kakamega High
Upper Hill’s Meshak Oluoch tackles Bakari Hassan of Kakamega High School. /DANIEL OGENDO

After winning their seventh national rugby 15s crown last weekend, Kakamega High School are keen to defend the East Africa School Games title in August in Gulu, Uganda.

The Barbarians are looking to win their sixth East African title but as coach Amos Wamanga indicates, it will be a ballbuster given the small frames of his players which does not favour them in the game.

“The boys were on a mission in Nairobi and they impressed. It, however, did not end at the nationals, we badly want to defend the East Africa championships trophy,” said Wamanga.

To make up for the size factor, Wamanga has intimated that they will work on the boys’ speed when they resume training upon the re-opening of schools next month.

“Our boys looked smaller in size as compared to the other teams at the nationals. As we advance to a higher level of competition, we want to improve on our speed again, like we did in Nairobi to cover up on our limitation in size. It is going to be an intense kind of grooming but the boys are determined to deliver gold medal in Gulu,” added Wamanga.

He expects competition to be tough especially against local rivals Laiser Hill Academy and Upper Hill alongside 2016 silver medalists Namilyango and third place finishers Hanna Mixed (both of Uganda).

The coach has also challenged the current crop to outdo the 2016 team which won only one trophy. Last year, Kakamega High School rugby team’s quest to reclaim the national title was thwarted when they closely lost to Bungoma High 7-5 in the semi finals. The squad, however, put their house in order and won regional show unbeaten, and without conceding a single try.

“We are fired up to surpass the achievements of last year’s team. We’ve been challenged and we have accepted to meet the demand. We want to do much better by successfully defending the trophy,” said flanker Frankline Shiveka, the team captain.

Shiveka, outside center Chrisant Ojwang and winger Timothy Omela will be looked upon to anchor the Barbarians going forth.

Last year in Eldoret, Kakamega High defend Kenya’s rugby 15s gong won by Laiser Hill in 2015. The other Kenyan sides were Bungoma High and Moi High School Sirgoi who finished fourth and fifth.

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