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Basketball finalists out to prove their mettle in regional school games

National School Games basketball finalists Sigalame Boys are on a mission to prove that hard work can beat experience as they take on big boys in Pool A at the Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association (FEASSSA) games that kick off on Sunday in Rwanda.

Head coach Martin Kitong’o guided his team to the finals on their debut in the national games stage and is looking to replicate that performance in Rwanda despite the tough pool.

Sigalame are in Pool A, the ‘Group of death’ as it has six teams that include defending champions APE Rugunga of Rwanda, last year’s finalists Buddo of Uganda and 2014 champions Lord Baden Powell of Tanzania.

“We are under no pressure and have ensured the players are not anxious about the pool we are in.

We had a tough pool in the nationals and sticking to our game plan helped us reach the finals. We have prepared well and will take one match at a time.

Going past the group stage will be the toughest hurdle for us but we just want to play good basketball,” said coach Kitong’o who blames their loss to Laiser Hill in the national finals to external factors.

National champions Laiser Hill are in a relatively easy pool as they have Uganda’s Kibuli, Tanzania’s Galanos as well as home boys College Ste Marie Reine and Lecee de Kigali (LDK).

The Antony Kirimi-coached side will also be looking to improve on last year’s performance where they finished eighth in the 11-team contest and recapture the title that Kenya last won in 2013 through Upper Hill.

In The girls’ category, national champions and East Africa 2016 champions Kaya Tiwi will have an uphill task in their quest to reclaim the title as they take on holders Buddo from Uganda. Other teams in the pool include LDK from Rwanda and Luyanzi College from Uganda. Kaya Tiwi lost in the semis and went on to win bronze during last year’s championship.

“As a coach I never concentrate on other teams’ achievements in any competition. We have been in these competitions before and the experience we have gives me confidence we will reclaim the title. I had a young squad last season but now they have matured and I expect a good performance from them,” said Kaya Tiwi coach Phillip Onyango.

Meanwhile, the games will for the first time have competitors from primary schools from Uganda and Rwanda, competing in football, volleyball and netball.

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