Kwanthanze ready for a title defence as they target third straight in Arusha
East Africa School games defending champions and national girls’ volleyball holders Kwanthanze begin their title defence with a clash against St Alloy’s from Rwanda on Sunday morning.
Having won the title back-to-back in 2013 and 2014, Kwanthanze is looking to make three straight crowns and five in total.
“Nothing has changed from the group we were in last year and it was a tough one. We started with the same school and they gave us a tough time. We are not underrating any team since all East African countries are getting better in volleyball,” said Kwanthanze coach Justin Kigwari.
He added: “We are expecting all countries to be out to beat us and some can pull surprises but we have prepared very well. The team, despite missing four of the best players in last season’s team, is more tactful and we have sealed all the loopholes left by their exit.”
The multiple champions have been spared a Kenyan derby after being placed in Pool A that has St Alloy’s, hosts Mkalapa and Kinawa High from Uganda.
Their Kenyan counterparts Cheptil and Nairobi region’s Soweto will meet in the group stage in a Pool B that also has GS Indangaburezi from Rwanda, Trust High of Uganda and Makongo from the hosts Tanzania.
The two Kenyan sides will face each other in the opening match tomorrow.
In the boys’ category, national holders Lelmokwo from Rift Valley and Nyanza’s Mogonga, both making their debut at the regional games, are out to leave a mark, having triumphed in the national competitions.
Lelmokwo open their tournament with a clash against Twangoma, who will enjoy home support, while the other Kenyan representatives are up against Uganda’s Mbogo Mixed tomorrow.
In boys’ handball, national title holders Kimilili are in Pool B while silver medallists Mbooni are in Pool A and they open their title hunt against Rwanda’s ES Kigoma and Tanzania’s Kilombero, respectively.
Mbooni, under the tutelage of Gerald Juma, who guided Kimilili to a sixth place finish in last year’s competition held in Rwanda, will be hoping to make it past the group stages into the semi-finals even as they face stiff competition from some experienced sides.
“We will handle this competition like any other and we won’t use inexperience as an excuse for failure. We will do our best as I hope to guide the team into the last four. Our underdog tag could work in our favour too, “ said Juma.