Kakamega High School head coach Amos Wamanga has commented on his team’s heroics in the just concluded national school games at Shimo La Tewa where they emerged champions in the rugby 15s saying it has been a process building the team after they failed to reach the finals in last year’s edition.
Wamanga speaking to the Scrummage said his squad consisted of players who started participating in top competitions while in form two, gaining valuable experience along the way. According to the coach, fielding more than four form twos in this year’s tournament means he will have experienced players in his squad next year even as most of his players are set to complete school this year.
“We had a good squad as most of these players were exposed to such competitions while at form two level. It a squad we have been building and it had the right experience heading to the competition. Our success was down to hard work and belief.”
“A big number in this winning squad are form fours and they will be exiting the school, but I have a clear exit plan. During the National School games, I fielded more than four players who are in form twos. They will head to next year’s competition full of confidence having played there before.”
Touching on the level of competition witnessed in the tournament, the tactician formerly with Malava Boys applauded the participating teams saying there was a notable improvement in the level of skills and many teams were now playing structured rugby.
“I can say the competition is getting better every day. The teams are doing well in terms of skills, playing structures and they were really playing well. It was not all about moving the ball to the left and right. There was no easy game in the National games. Remember we’re playing champions from different regions in the country. Each team had its own strength. “
On having both the 15s and 7s versions of the game running at the same time, Wamanga noted that many players and teams were denied the opportunity to perform to their best, as they had to choose one category and give it a priority. Some schools had to forego one category to participate in the competitions at the same time. Another challenge came in terms of players, most schools did not have enough players to make up 7s and 15s teams meaning the same players playing the 15s category would be needed to play in the 7s category. This proved nearly impossible forcing teams to stick to the category they felt they were strongest at.
“It has been a challenge to having both versions at the same time. A team like St Peters Mumias had a good squad which would have done better in the games but put more focus on the 7s category. I personally had good players in the 7s team who I believe can go all the way and play for the National team but they did not get the needed exposure as we felt 15s was our strength. “
Does this mean scouts could have missed out on potential talent in both versions of the game because of the nature of the tournament? And if so, what can be done to make sure our students get a chance to showcase their talent in both categories.