The countdown to the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association games, slated for August 17th to 27th in Huye, Rwanda, is underway, and the Kenyan rugby scene is buzzing with anticipation. Among the contenders representing Kenya on the regional stage are Koyonzo and St. Mary’s Yala, two teams with their eyes fixed on the East Africa Rugby 7’s title.
Eliud Okwemba, the head coach of the reigning National Rugby Sevens champions, Koyonzo, minced no words in expressing his team’s ambition. With conviction, he stated, “We are going to Rwanda for the regional trophy. That is the only trophy that is missing in our cabinet.”
Fresh from a triumphant defense of their national title, Koyonzo’s focus now pivots to securing the East Africa trophy. Okwemba’s enthusiasm is palpable as he reflects on the team’s journey. “We have had a perfect championship here in Kenya from sub-county to nationals. We now want to end our season with the East Africa trophy.”
Koyonzo’s path to the regional championship will be no easy feat. They are set to face fierce competition from Kenyan counterparts like Vihiga High and St. Mary’s Yala. Last week, Koyonzo clinched their national title with a 22-12 victory over Vihiga, intensifying the rivalry.
For Okwemba, this year’s format holds promise. Unlike the previous edition, where teams played in a round-robin, this year’s tournament will be pooled. Koyonzo, Kitondo Secondary, Kiira College, and London School from Uganda make up Pool ‘A’. Meanwhile, Vihiga High and St. Mary’s Yala will contend in Pool ‘B’ with Jinja Senior School, Makerere College, and Rwanda’s GS Gitisi.
Okwemba is banking on the cohesion and experience of his squad. “My boys are raring to go,” he asserts, confident that the majority of the team that represented Koyonzo in last year’s competition in Arusha, Tanzania, will hold their own in Rwanda.
St. Mary’s Yala’s coach, Ken Mukok, has an equally formidable game plan. Eager to challenge the status quo, he notes, “We have been working on perfecting our defence and offence since Saturday.” Mukok is collaborating with the Kabras Sugar technical bench to fine-tune his team’s strategies before they depart for Rwanda.
With their sights set on the East Africa Games, Mukok emphasizes St. Mary’s Yala’s desire to compete and enjoy the experience. “We are going to Rwanda not only to compete but also to enjoy ourselves,” he affirms.
As the anticipation mounts and the players prepare to step onto the field in Huye, rugby enthusiasts across the region eagerly await the electrifying clashes that will determine who emerges as the East Africa Rugby 7’s champion.