10 April 2009

KENYA : Title Chase Hots Up

By Oscar Pilipili

Top favourite teams have qualified for the boys’ basketball semi-finals at the Kenya Secondary Schools Championships at Kangaru, Embu.

Five-time champions St Austin’s Academy of Nairobi, play Friends School Kamusinga of Western as Rift Valley’s Laiser Hill who won last year take on Maseno from Nyanza in a basketball match that is a repeat of last year’s final.

Kamusinga finished first in Pool A on five points from two wins and a draw, while Maseno finished second on four points from two wins and a loss.
Laiser topped Pool A with maximum six points that were two less than second place finishers St Austin’s. The qualification of the top guns is a complete recipe for quality matches that can gain international rating at any level.

First honours

And now everyone is looking forward to the first honours and that is to reach the finals and qualify for the East Africa Secondary Schools Championships to be held in Uganda

in August.

St Austin’s captain Michael Owino said: "Our immediate target is to reach the final and earn a ticket to represent Kenya at the East African Games."
The debutant captain Owino said that they will go for early lead to disorganise their opponents in the match that is expected to produce fireworks.

His Kamusinga counterpart Tylor Okari said they were psyched up for the match. "The preliminaries were very competitive because we were in a tough group. The competitive nature of the matches has prepared us well for the semi-finals," he said.
"For example, we lost 75-64 against Maseno in our group match and this is very encouraging," he said.

Time to excel

The teams met for the last time at the Nationals play-offs at Mang’u and the Nairobi boys emerged winners. Kamusinga have made unsuccessful eighth appearances at the Championships and Okari believes that this is their time to excel.
"All the players that guided the team to position four last year are still intact and ready to win the Championships," he said.

Shimba Hills of Coast play Lang’ata from Nairobi in a semi-final match to involve newcomers to the schools scene. In the girls’ hockey, East African Champions Kerugoya play Misikhu as Lwak tackle Hillcrest in matches set for today.
National champions Kamusinga meet Shimo La Tewa as regional kings St Anthony’s entertain Kisumu Day in the second match.

Just like the basketball matches, hockey players will leave nothing to chance as they chase the coveted ticket to the East African Championships and national

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