Football Football

Upper Hill, Olympic eye ARS slots

Upper Hill’s Ronald Osir shields vice captain, Hemed Said during the fifth Airtel Rising Stars launch June 24/PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, June 23 – Upper Hill high School are out to defend the Metropolitan boy’s football title when the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) Term 2 B regional contest take center stage this weekend.

The 2013 National champions who topped the Nairobi District competition unbeaten were confident they will reclaim the trophy they lost to Nzoia region side Kakamega High School.

Speaking during the launch of the fifth Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) on Wednesday, Vice captain, Hemed Said noted their target is to lift the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Associations title.

“We have forgotten what happen last year and the preparation is good. This time we have polished out mistakes and as defending champions, we are hoping to reclaim the regional title and proceed to Nationals.

“We were lucky to be  part of the team that was selected to represent the country in the ARS 2013 but we didn’t perform to our expectations. If we get that opportunity again we will give it our best,” the form four midfielder,who wishes to play for KPL side Sofapaka, told Capital Sport.

-Role model-

Michael Olunga center, with Upper Hill vice captain, Hemed Said (second right) and team-mates during the fifth Airtel Rising Star launch. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

Upper Hill Alumni, Michael Olunga who turns out for Harambee Stars and Gor Mahia, believes the team that features in the Nairobi County League has the capability of reclaiming the title.

“Their previous record is good; they have won two out of three so I think this year I’m tipping them to win. They have a competitive squad and everyone wants to get a number so I’m sure five of them will play in the KPL  very soon.

The ARS is a good platform that exposes players but I urge them to go into more countries in Africa so that football can grow in the continent,” Olunga, a former Thika United and Tusker FC forward stated.

-Olympic girls dream-

Olympic Girls High School captain, Elizabeth Wambui in action during the fifth Airtel Rising Star launch/PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

Just like their male counterparts, Olympic Girls High School lost the title to Butere Girls after falling at the regional stage to former champions Matuu Memorial.

The finalists of 2013 ARS have sent a warning indicating they are going for nothing short of the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Associations ticket.

“Through this programme we have gained a lot, we want to reclaim out title. Last year things didn’t go our way but this year we will not spare any team,” 16-year-old, Olympic skipper, Elizabeth Wambui claimed.

The Nationals will be held from July 27 to August 8 in Machakos.

-National teams-

Long serving KSSSA Secretary General, David Ngugi said their mission is to produce a feeder system to the national teams since the games are competed at a higher level.

Ngugi announced this year’s Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Associations will be hosted in Rwanda from August 15, as teams battle for the two slots available for winners and finalists in football, volleyball, lawn tennis, badminton and table tennis.

In addition, the best three ARS players in football will be sponsored for a week-long training by international coaches from United Kingdom.

“The motivation of these boys and girls is to play for this country, Olunga is a product of ARS having been named the best player in Mombasa and now you can see he is playing for the national team.

“The competition across the country is great, its cutthroat, everybody wants to represent Kenya in ARS because this is what is bringing up their talent,” Ngugi said.

ARS is an annual pan Africa program that provides a platform for upcoming soccer talent to showcase their skills to leading scouts, coaches and have an opportunity to further their football skills.