Kenyan teams to the East Africa Secondary School Games are worried of the 17-day break occasioned by the August 8 general elections.
Most secondary schools in the country close on Thursday and the various teams to the regional event set for Gulu, Uganda will not assemble until August 14 in Busia (Kenya).
The long break has been met with mixed feelings among the various stakeholders.
While some feel the break is too long and may impede players’ delivery, others think there shouldn’t be any worries at all ahead of the August 17-27 championships.
Jason Meli, an athletics coach at the Janeth Jepkosgei Camp and teacher at AIC Kapchemoyo Girls, Nandi County averred that personal discipline amongst players will go a long way for Team Kenya to stage exemplary performances in Uganda.
“Our athletes are training under their teachers in their respective schools and we have also advised them to continue with personal preparations while on holiday,” said Meli. “With the elections coming, we cannot assemble them in one or two training camps so we just trust that they stay in good shape. It will, however, be tough for team sports who need to train together for better results.”
Kwanthanze Girls volleyball head coach Justine Kigwari said: “There are possibilities of the electioneering period spoiling Team Kenya’s target to retain the overall title, but it all depends on the preparedness of each lineup. Teams with mentally strong players will prevail.”
On the other hand, Moses Mbuthia, the secretary general of Nairobi Region is resolute that the break will not interfere with teams preparedness.
He said: “When you are going to war, you don’t wait till the last hours to prepare for it. I think teams have been preparing since the beginning of the year and we are not worried at all as the tournament dates draw closer.”
“We have committed coaches in the region and I am confident they have groomed our teams well even now when they are writing their exams,” he added.
Mbuthia called on teams and regional leadership to wait for direction from David Ngugi, the secretary general of both Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association’s and FEASSSA.
Last year, Kenya won the overall title after grabbing 31 medals – 15 gold, seven silvers and nine bronze, ahead of Uganda who had a total of 22, Rwanda (12), Burundi (four) and Tanzania who were represented in football boys and girls only, and did not collected any medal.