How Maseno School have remained on top
Idowu Koyenikan, a Russian/Nigerian author, once said, “even though your time on the job is temporary, if you do a good enough job, your work there will last forever.”
This statement perhaps best describes Nyanza secondary school games 15s rugby heavyweights Maseno School.
Maseno’s prowess in 15s rugby in the region is akin to Brazil in football as the Samba Boys are the only national team to have graced all 22 FIFA World Cup tournaments since 1930.
The same goes for Maseno who have featured in all Nyanza regional games since 1998.
Maseno, the oldest formal education school in Kenya, was established in 1906 by the Church Missionary Society as an institution for children of African chiefs, and has an unmatched record in rugby 15s that no other secondary school in Nyanza has.
Most astounding is the fact that they have not only been featuring in these competitions but have also played in all finals since 1998, another unmatched fete.
Even though St Mary’s Yala (12) have more titles than Maseno (10), the latter have finished runners- up 12 times and are hoping to continue that dominance this year when the games resume after the coronavirus pandemic.
So what is the secret? Nothing special, according to the school’s games master Eric Awounda.
“We just train hard but it is all about the legacy and history of the school. The boys just want to maintain the history and defend the badge of this great institution. We don’t do anything extra ordinary,” says Awounda.
“In terms of facilities, we have all we need. The administration has been very supportive and gives us everything,” adds Awounda.
However, while the students are not doing anything extra ordinary, Maseno have been reaping the fruits of stability and continuity in their coaching department which could be the reason they keep excelling.
Maseno keep their coaches unchanged for long and whenever one retires or is transferred, they elevate his assistant. For instance, Kennedy Ojero was head coach for three years from 2010 assisted by Gilbert Onyango and when he left, the latter took over for five years, deputised by Paul Nyamita. Nyamita would take over in 2018 and has been in charge since, assisted by Steve Oluoch.
“It’s our culture to keep and develop our coaches. In fact, this is one of the reasons we have always been doing well.
“The coaches know the philosophy of the school and the desire of the boys, the areas they need to improve. It’s another reason for our consistency,” says Awounda.
While they have not dominated nationally like in the region, Maseno have also not been pushovers in sevens rugby where they are six-time Nyanza region champions and twice winners at national level.
In East Africa, Maseno have featured three times, winning once in 2014 finishing runner’s up in 2015 and third in 2012.