The Kenyan trio of champions Kaya Tiwi, Tigoi Girls and St Brigid’s Kiminini will be looking to sweep all medals in basketball at this year’s Brookside East Africa Secondary School games in Gulu, Uganda.
The three schools will be aiming to extend the country’s dominance in the sport during the regional games which begin on Saturday.
Kenya has won the girls’ basketball title in five of the last six editions and the country will be aiming to extend its winning streak.
However, they will face stiff competition from Uganda, Burundi and Rwandan schools for the top prize.
With Kaya Tiwi winning last year’s regional crown, Kenya qualified to field three sides in the tourney as per the competition rules.
Defending champions Kaya Tiwi will be under pressure to repeat last year’s heroics, when they clinched the title on their maiden show at the annual showpiece in Eldoret.
The Coast-based school saw off Lycee du Lac Tanganyika of Burundi 54-51 in a gruelling final match played at Moi Girls Eldoret.
Having successful defended their national title in April this year, Kaya Tiwi are looking to complete another double.
Their coach Philip Onyango is leaving nothing to chance as he seeks yet another piece of silverware.
“There is no fear in the side and the girls are ready for action. Pressure will be on us to deliver and we will be taking a match at a time,” Onyango said.
Kaya Tiwi are in Pool A and will come up against Lycee de Kigali (Rwanda), Uganda’s Kibuli and Buddo as well as Lord Baden Powell of Tanzania and Tigoi.
Onyango, who led Shimba Hills to five regional titles before joining Kaya Tiwi, believes a good start will be key.
“Our preparations have been excellent and we expect stiff competition from the Ugandan sides,” he added. Tigoi, who are making their return to the regional games, will be boosted by the presence of star guard, Caroline Nduta Njeri, who attended a Basketball Without Borders basketball (BWB) training Camp in South Africa early this month.
Tigoi coach Ken Egovya is optimistic the training Nduta got will help her side in Gulu.
“I am sure the skills will make us dangerous as a team and our target is to reach the semi-final at least,” the coach said.
Kenya’s third team St Brigid’s Kiminini are in a tough Pool B which has 2015 winners St Mary’s Kitende and St Noah (both Uganda), Lycee du Lac Tanganyika, College Gisenyi of Rwanda and South Sudan’s Rumbek Girls.
The team, which was eliminated at the group stages in last year’s tourney, will be seeking an improved performance.