Volleyball silver medallists at the just-concluded National Secondary School Games, Kapkenyeloi Boys, are targeting at least a semi-final berth when the Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association (FEASSSA) competitions kick off at Musanze on August 12.
The school came to the national games’ stage bearing an underdog tag but used it to their advantage, reaching the finals to qualify for the East Africa meet as the second placed team after champions Malava.
Coach Richard Soi’s transfer to the little-known Nandi County’s Kapkenyeloi, from past volleyball powerhouse AIC Kosirai, came as a blessing to the school as his passion for the sport propelled the school to the national limelight.
“I joined the school in August last year. While other schools were in Gulu for East Africa Games, I assembled the school team whose best performance was reaching the sub county level finals and we started our training.
I knew the students had the height but lacked technical skills and I immediately got to work and it paid off,” said coach Soi.
Having always lost to former champions Cheptil at the early stages, Kapkenyeloi took advantage of the absence of the former to qualify for the national games.
Cheptil are serving a ban for fielding ineligible players during last year’s East Africa games in Gulu.
“The absence of Cheptil was, to many, our saving grace but I don’t agree. I had prepared my players well, through a series of tournament, and I was confident we would qualify for the national even with them in the competition. We had played them at the beginning of the competitions and won,” said Soi.
The coach, who has enjoyed success and dominance in volleyball with Kosirai, says he has prepared his charges both physically and psychologically for battle in Rwanda.
He further adds that he has a fully fit squad unlike in the national finals where two of his best players Joshua Kiprono and Joash Kipleting were unwell, and is expecting better performance in Rwanda.
The second Kenyan team in the boys’ volleyball, Malava, is hoping for a double in reclaiming the titles. The side reclaimed the national title won by debutants Sengera last year and is on a roll to reclaim the regional title won by Rwanda’s Rusumo.
In girls’ volleyball, holders Kwanthanze are hoping to retain their title while , Cheptil and Soweto who are grouped in the same pool will look to proceed to the semis as position one and two.