Kenya’s representatives in rugby sevens at this year’s Brookside East Africa Secondary School Games in Gulu Uganda have one thing in common, they are all debutantes.
National champions Menengai Day Mixed, Chavakali High and Muhuri Muchiri are in unchartered waters as they bid to retain the title that Kenya won at last year’s edition held in Eldoret.
Saint Peter’s Mumias, who failed to make it to this year’s showpiece that begins Saturday, beat Uganda’s Kololo Secondary 21-14 in last year’s final played at the Eldoret Sports Club.
In their absence, the onus will fall on the three newcomers to retain Kenya’s glory in the shorter version of the sport.
They will come up against four sides from Uganda and one from Rwanda.
Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi do not have teams for the discipline which is in its third year now.
Rugby sevens was introduced to the regional games in 2015 in Huye, Rwanda with homeside Ste Familie beating Kenya’s Kangaru School to lift the inaugural title.
Menengai, who beat Chavakali 7-5 during the national games held in June on Mombasa, will be eyeing a historic double, a feat that has never been done before.
The team’s coach Evans Adenya is confident his charges can make a good impact on their first showing in the games.
“Having been at the nationals and won the title, we carry that momentum to Uganda. It is a different ball game but we believe the players have what it takes to give a good account of themselves,” Adenya said in a previous interview.
“If we keep our shape and ensure we don’t lose concentrations, I see no reason why we cannot go all the way.”
The team will bank on locks Felix Makokha and Nyaundo Ochieng to propel them to success. The duo were instrumental in their win against Chavakali.
A contingent of 770 students head for East Africa games.