18 March 2009
KENYA : St George’s face Langata in basketball final
By SAMMY KITULA
There is a renewed determination about former schools’ provincial champions, St George’s Secondary School, as they face-off with Langata High School in Saturday’s Nairobi basketball final at Hillcrest School.
Coach Juma Kent is convinced that 2008 disappointments are behind his team. St. George’s were Nairobi title winners in 2007 but as fate would have it, in 2008 they failed to even make finals after they lost by half a basket to the eventual winners, Pangani Girls High School.
Langata, won’t be easy pushovers going by their last week’s sterling 53-31 upset over Buru Buru. “Last year we fought a good battle, but lost to a championship team. I thought they deserved the win as we were plagued with several errors from our court. We just couldn’t come back,” says Kent.
Kent, who is the 2009 Sports Personality of the Year Award (Soya) Community Hero, expects his side to rise this year. There are also plenty of new faces; even if the former champions lost some big names and were unable to make the top drawer trades they and their fans had been hoping for.
Tanya Ogwel, Valerie Okoth and Drusila Njoki have all been instrumental in the 2009 campaign, scoring a massive 154 points amongst themselves.
There is, says Kent, less experience but perhaps more hunger in the team. “It’s those kinds of players that give me hope that we will make it. I love that in these players; they’re hungry, they’re talented, they’ve been beat up a little bit. I love the challenge of trying to find one or two of them that can help us. I told them not to worry about the name on the back of the jersey of whom you’re competing against,” he says.
Such is Kent’s determination that things be different this time around that he has even put in two extra hours in his normal training.