Baraka Karama @PeopleSports11
They have won the East Africa secondary school girl’s hockey title for the past five years. Despite bagging the national trophy twice, Sinyolo Girls High School from Kisumu County have also remained dominant in the larger Nyanza region for the past six years.
A visit to their school during training sessions reveal a team determined not to relinquish their title anytime soon. After breaking from their normal lessons, the girls head straight to the hockey pitch for training where they take 30 minutes to do gymnastics before making three laps around the field.
And when assistant coach Peter Onyango blows the whistle, the girls pick their hockey sticks to begin the game. They play with a lot of energy and passion. Their mastery of the hockey stick is unmatched and is not hard to understand why they are multiple champions.
“We train daily, no break and that is why the girls have mastered the game,” says Onyango. “When we first won the championship in 2013, many people thought we would not retain the title but to their surprise, we have done so and still do,” added Onyango on their supremacy in East Africa.
Sinyolo thrashed Uganda’s Old Kampala 7-0 in the finals to clinch the East Africa crown in Gulu, Uganda last year in what was a response to their critics who had written them off after surrendering their national title to St Cecilia Misikhu during the national term one games.
“Even though we had lost to Misikhu, we were not ready to lose again and that is why when we were on the pitch, we were focusing on nothing but sounding the board,” says team captain Bensoine Lukabu.
So what has been the secret to success? “Many people say we use witchcraft to win but that is not the case we just practise hard and give it our best,” she added.
Sinyolo’s success has also seen them win many awards regionally and locally including the prestigious Sportsman Of The Year Award (SOYA) for best school in 2015. However, challenges abound. “The school has really supported us but many times we lack good hockey sticks because of limited finances.
A good hockey stick costs Sh16,000 and sometimes the school does not have that money,” says Lukabu. Her parting shot? “For those who are training for us, we are not training for them but training for the trophy that is ahead of us.”