Kenya’s stranglehold on boys and girls basketball ha been vice-like since the inception of the East Africa schools games and that looks unlikely to change this year.
Last year, Laiser Hill Academy beat Kamenge of Burundi 75-61 in that cracking boys’ final at St Leos College in Fort Portal, Uganda, while Shimba Hills beat Lang’ata 30-27 in an-all Kenyan final to win the girls’ trophy on their first appearance at the games.
According to Laiser Hill’s head coach Anthony Kirimi, nothing has changed, if anything, the top four spots should be won by Kenyan teams.
“We are here to defend our trophy and we urge the rest of the teams to follow and win the top four slots,” said Kirimi. “Now that we are playing at home, we ought to use that chance to bag medals.”
That will depend on who shoots the winning basket, as the champions entertain their Nairobi International School in today’s opening match at 10:30am at Menengai High School.
NIS are playing at the regional games for the first time. It’s the second time the two sides will be meeting this year after their clash in this year’s national games held at Upper Hill School.
St. Michael High from Uganda, Tanzania’s Makongo and Bentiu Secondary from Southern Sudan complete the teams in Pool ‘A’.
Kenya champions, Maseno School will renew their rivalry with Friends School Kamusinga in Pool ‘B. Third last year in Fort Portal, Maseno start against Iyunga of Tanzania, as they aim to reclaim the title they last won in 2008 in Kigali, Rwanda.
“We are ready for the games. We didn’t do as we were expecting in Uganda, but this year, we are all ready,” said Maseno’s head coach, Paul Otula.
In the girls category, champions Shimba Hills are in Pool ‘B’, together with Buruburu , Sogea of Tanzania, ENDP Karubanda of Rwanda and Mary Hill of Uganda.