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Battle lines drawn in Gulu as hunt for glory begins

IN GULU, UGANDA

Gulu town in Uganda comes alive on Saturday as the 16th edition of the Brookside East Africa Secondary School Games get underway.

Some 3,500 students from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the hosts will do battle over the next 10 days for honours in 13 disciplines.

Kenya, who are the defending champions, will be looking to maintain their dominance in the annual showpiece. Games will be staged at the Sacred Heart Girls School, St. Joseph Layibi and the Kaunda Grounds Hall in Gulu.

Kenyan schools will be in action today in various disciplines in the northern city.

In boys’ football, national champions Upper Hill open their account against Uganda’s Kibuli in a Pool A encounter.

In Pool B, the 2002 regional winners St Anthony’s Boys Kitale face Lycee du Kigali of Rwanda.

Upper Hill last featured at the games in 2013 in Lira, Uganda and will also be looking for a maiden crown.

The team’s coach Joseph Makokha is aiming for a perfect start against the Ugandans.

“It has been a good year for us winning the national title on our return and we now want to complete the double in Uganda. We are underdogs just as we were in Nyeri last month and hope to be the surprise package,” Makokha said.

In another Pool A encounter, College Karambi of Rwanda play Uganda’s St Joseph Layibi.

St Anthony’s will also be aiming to get an opening win on their return to the regional showpiece.

In girls’ football, Kenya’s representative Wiyeta Girls and Ibinzo Girls will also be in action in their respective pools.

Four-time winners Wiyeta tackle G.S Kabusunzu of Rwanda in Pool B as debutantes Ibinzo lock horns with South Sudan’s Kapotea Girls.

Wiyeta finished third last year and will be looking to bounce back in this year’s competition as they chase a fifth title.

“We have learnt from previous mistakes and are ready to finally reclaim what rightly belongs to us,” Wiyeta coach Edgar Manyara said.

In rugby 15s, Kenya’s Upper Hill and Laiser Hill will face off in a mouthwatering clash while defending champions Kakamega High take on Uganda’s Mbarara High.

The other match will see Ntare School face St Mary’s Kisubi. The competition will be played in a round robin format.

Kenyan schools will also be looking for winning starts in the volleyball competition.

Champions Malava Boys face fellow Kenyan side Cheptil in a Pool B match which is a a repeat of last year’s final in Eldoret.

Kenya’s other side Sengera SDA face Burundi’s Roi de Getenga in Pool A.

Sinyolo will be looking to make it five titles in a row at this year’s event.

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