Kenya will be represented by 626 students at the 14th edition of the Brookside Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association (FEASSSA) games slated for August 15-22 in Huye, Rwanda.
The 321 boys and 305 girls drawn from 47 secondary schools will battle for medals with their counterparts from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and hosts Rwanda across 12 disciplines during the week-long event.
Kenya will be out to reclaim the overall team title which it lost for the first time last year in Tanzania to neighbours Uganda since the inception of the games in 2002.
The regional games will be held in seven different venues in Rwanda’s third largest city with the opening ceremony set to be held at the University of Rwanda Stadium on August 15. The games will officially begin on August 16 as 2,682 students do battle for the bragging rights.
The venue will host athletics, boys’ basketball, law tennis, badminton with the closing ceremony also to be done at the university’s stadium. Defending champions Uganda will have the highest contingent at the games with 739 students drawn from 56 Ugandan schools charged with ensuring the county retains the title.
Hosts Rwanda will have 504 participants while Burundi and Tanzania will field 249 and 408 players respectively. South Sudan will have the smallest representation at the annual games with 156 participants set to battle for glory.
Rugby Sevens will make its debut at this year’s games with seven schools set to compete for the honours. Kenya will be represented by national champions St Peters School Mumias (Nzoia Region) as well losing finalists Kangaru School (Aberdare Region).
Uganda will field two schools with the hosts parading three in the discipline which will be played at TTC Save, 12km from Huye. The boys’ football bonanza, which is expected to be tightly contested, will be held at the Opedei Stadium.
Kenyan representatives in the discipline, national champions Passenga High and runners-up Laiser Hill, have their work cut out in trying to wrestle the title from champions St Mary’s Kitende from Uganda.
The Ugandan school has dominated the discipline and will be favourites to retain their title which they won after beating fellow Ugandan side Kibuli High 4-3 on post-match penalties in last year’s final.
BANNED FOR TWO YEARS
St Anthony’s, who were handed two-year ban last week for cheating, are the only Kenyan school to have won the boys’ football crown during the championship’s first edition in Nakuru in 2002.
We have good teams this year and I believe they have what it takes to win back the team title which we lost last year, said Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association secretary-general David Ngugi.
The Kenyan team will be flagged off by government officials on Friday in Nairobi ahead of their departure next week Tuesday.