The highly anticipated Nairobi region Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA) regional games kicked off on a sour note at the Nairobi School on Friday 15 March 2019 as 15 out of the 24 participating schools were locked out due to lack of 'proper' documentation.
As witnessed by RagaHouse, schools were asked by a representative from the Ministry of Education to provide Birth certificates for each of their 11-member playing unit and accompany the same with KCPE certificate.
While only nine schools met all the requirements others accompanied the birth certificates with results slips instead which were not accepted hence their untimely exit from the competition.
Nairobi rugby powerhouse Lenana School, Ofafa Jericho, Jamhuri High and Moi Forces Academy were some of the schools forced out as they could not provide part of the required documentation.
As an example Ofafa Jericho availed seven KCPE Certificates and missed only four as Lenana School were missing eight. MFA only availed results slips.
Others locked out from the games included Garden Estate, Langata High, St. Teresa's, Komarock High, Ruthimitu, Hospital Hill, Makongeni, Aquinas, Kangemi High, Embakassi Garisson and Ushirika.
"Locking schools out was totally uncalled for. Some schools requested for time to avail the required documents but that fell on deaf ears. We do not understand the motive of the expulsions because each school could avail UPI's (Unique Personal Identifiers) and their details could easily be counter-checked from the Government portal," said a bitter school teacher
One other coach - not to be named - has termed the occurrence at Nairobi School as 'talent genocide' and 'brutal' as it denied kids the right to play the game.
"Just last week we played the 15s games (at St. Mary's) and none of the documents being asked for today were required then. Why the double standards? We believe this is a way of helping some schools to progress," said the coach.
As the 15 stayed out, nine were passed to contest the competition. They included champions Dagoretti High, Upper Hill, host Nairobi School, Strathmore School, Sunshine Secondary, Olympic High, Light Academy, Highway Secondary and 2017 Nairobi champions Muhuri Muchiri.
With a whole of 15 schools out, the original band of six pools - each with four teams - had to be re-calibrated.
After hours of vetting, the games kicked off proper closer to 1.30pm after the remaining nine schools were banded afresh in three pools of three teams each.
From the new pooling, Dagoretti was drawn in pool A with Highway Secondary and Light Academy as Muhuri Muchiri, Strathmore School and Sunshine landed in pool B.
Nairobi School, Upper Hill and Olympic completed pool C. Later on Komarock was added to one of the pools.
At the close of day one games eight of the ten participating schools qualified for the knockouts set for Saturday 16 March at the same venue.
Muhuri Muchiri, Nairobi School, Dagoretti and Upper Hill school booked Sunshine secondary, Highway Secondary, Strathmore and Komarock High, in the quarters, in that order. Light Academy and Olympic missed out.
The winning Nairobi 7s team will roll down to the Coast in April as Nairobi representatives for the National Schools 7s games.
Quarterfinal pairing - Sat 16 March, 2019
Muhuri Muchiri vs Sunshine Secondary
Highway Secondary vs Nairobi School
Dagoretti High vs Strathmore School
Upper Hill vs Komarock High
*Knockout games kick off at 10am