• Kenya, defending champions, failed to replicate their 2017 form, where they tore teams apart with ease in Bujumbura, Burundi.
• The team lacked cutting edge defense, an aspect they tried to work on throughout the games but it never clicked, and consequently they surrendered their title.— Rebecca Sarange netball coach.
Ulinzi Stars coach Benjamin Nyangweso has challenged his players to improve their defence and make their numerous chances count ahead of their final East Africa Military Games match against Rwanda at Moi Stadium, Kasarani today.
Kenya, defending champions, failed to replicate their 2017 form, where they tore teams apart with ease in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The team has tested victory only once in the five-team tournament Nyangweso has implored his charges to get the better of Mohamed Adil's flawless Rwanda lineup.
A dream start saw Ulinzi put four goals past an incoherent Burundi side as Kenya remained buoyant of successful title defence but a distasteful goalless stalemate against Uganda and 2-1 surprise loss to Tanzania in their penultimate game further faded the team's hope.
Four points from three matches, five goals scored and two conceded has made Nyangweso to rethink about his approach in order to bring down the Rwandese top league side APR (Armée Patriotique Rwandaise FC) in their last game of the showpiece.
He said: “Rwanda have professional players and we will battle hard for the win. We have been punished by some individual errors despite monopolizing the matches and we look to erase that. We need to put up solid defense and be merciless in attack to have leverage over a good side,”
“We anticipated to defend the title on home soil but we have no chance since our adversaries have nine points ahead of tomorrow's (today) match. Last season's Kenya Premier league top scorer Enosh Ochieng, together with strikers Elvis Nandwa and Dan Waweru need to shoulder the goal-scoring burden from forward Oscar Wamalwa.”
Elsewhere, Ulinzi Swords head coach Rebecca Sarange believes lack of experience was the team’s major undoing as they settled for silver behind Uganda in netball. She observed that the team lacked cutting edge defense, an aspect they tried to work on throughout the games but it never clicked, and consequently they surrendered their title.
“I am proud of the team. We played well and this Games give us the motivation to play better in future tournaments. Our defence was not at it’s best throughout our event but moving forward, that it is an area we will extensively work on,” noted Sarange.
The soft-spoken tactician remarked that although the matches were tough, her charges outdid themselves and sacrificed a lot to ensure they got silver medal. She added that they need more exposure in international matches for them to scoop the gold medal in the next edition of the regional Games.
“We really need more exposure for our team to get better. This extravaganza was a wake-up call to us as we seek to become a force to reckon with in the region and Africa,” she added.
Swords’ captain Brigid Nanjala lauded their collective effort as she echoed her coach’s remarks on the need for more exposure.
“It was tough at the start but we eventually got our footing. We had trained to get in the medal bracket, and the gold at most, but we are thankful for the silver. We need exposure to be at the same league with the likes of Uganda, who have had members play in bigger events,” said Nanjala.
Tanzania settled for the bronze medal. Corporal Mwanaidi Hassan of Tanzania was the top scorer with 185 goals while compatriot Private Joyce Kaira was the best defender while Private Rachael Nanyonga Uganda was named the most valuable player.