With four days to the 16th edition of Federation of East Africa Secondary school Games to be staged in Gulu, Uganda, milk processing far Brookside Dairy has boosted the tournament with Kshs 35 million.
The games, kicks off on Saturday with Brookside as the main sponsor for the event for the last nine years since the regional schools begun.
The Gulu event will be played at the Sacred Heart Girls School, St. Joseph Layibi and the Kaunda Grounds hall in Gulu.
The tournament brings together secondary school teams from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda.
Apart from the trophies, six talented players stand a chance of securing full scholarships at the Strathmore Business School in Nairobi. The scholarships are only open for students taking part in either hockey or basketball.
FEASSA president Justus Mugisha confirmed that all measures have been laid out to ensure that the regional games are held successfully, and that the tournament achieves its purpose of nurturing sports talent.
“The profile of the games has been growing every year and there is already a lot of anticipation ahead of this year’s event. The whole of Gulu is waiting for the competition to start and this year we plan to have the games aired live so that the entire region can follow proceedings from their respective countries.
“Every year we have had different countries winning different categories apart from netball where Uganda has dominated, but we believe that this year is going to be different. Maybe another country will walk away with the crown.
“We have done four inspection visits to the training and competition venues this year and everything is in place,” he said.
Mugisha, together with FEASSA Secretary General David Ngugi, said that contrary to previous years where the competition has been tainted by reports of overage players, special measures have been taken to ensure that participating teams field only students.
“We have put very strict rules this time. The teams know that once you are caught fielding aliens or people who are not actual students you will be disqualified immediately and banned for a lengthy period. We have also endorsed an anti-doping policy and we are encouraging the participants to stay away from any performance enhancing drugs,” he said.
For this year’s event, Kenya is expected to field 50 teams consisting 700 players and 10 officials.
The Kenyan delegation, which has converged on Busia, will depart on Wednesday morning by road and are expected to arrive in Gulu on Thursday afternoon ahead of the Saturday curtain raiser.
Last year’s competition was held in Eldoret where Kenya retained the overall team title having bagged all major trophies save for netball.