American Football in the 10th East African University Games
The stage was set, expectations raised and the highly charged men in shoulder pads and helmets delivered extremely well to quench the curiosity the thousands of spectators and by standers in the just ended East Africa university games. The 10th editions of the games were held in Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and technology 16-17 December 2016. The sport is said to be the most spectated as it’s the first time a demonstration of this kind to be conducted is such a high competition. Both local and international Media houses were on high alert to witness the course of sports History written.
This stretches back to 5 months of preparation; KFAF president had request for a demonstration of the sport in the games from the organizing committee. His efforts were backed up by the fact that the host University had an existing team. “This has given the students to showcase the beauty of the sport to those who haven’t had a chance to see/ watch it up close. We believe with such platforms we can spark interest from other universities to accommodate the sport in their disciplines”. Said Mr. Alwanga. “would like to see the sport as competitive as other sports here in Kenya and East African at large.” He added
Demonstration was conducted by the three teams that have been training jointly every Saturday on rotational basis with University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta and Umojachiefs grounds being the hub of the high contact sport. this was coordinated by head coach Dan Eck.
More than 35 universities took part in the tournament as 18 disciplines offered opportunity to competitors. Uganda Makerere University had a American football team but it said to have collapsed due to the technicality and complexity of the sport,unfortunately same cases unfolded in Tanzania (Dar University)and Rwanda(Kigali institute of Science and Technology). Otherwise this would be a competitive sport in the 10th edition of East Africa Games.
“We haven’t had a competitive game this year as we were building and selecting a National team, this are purely graduates or students in Kenya universities.” said Teddy Ondiek assistant coach National team, and the Defensive coordinator. He also added “we have maximized on this opportunity to show case the game and more is to follow as we plan to host a team from Jordan for our first international game.”
A senior player form Jkuat Sparrows Mark Omodi former captain, and feared Running backhelped to coordinate the event . “ I have never been this hyped about an event, this got my adrenaline running and all I wanted was to see myself in full gear running the ball before thousands of spectators.” You should see his enthusiasm while saying this to the cameras.
Fresh talks might have emerged to revive the mentioned institutions in East Africa to develop teams as they already have equipment and facilities they only need technical staff (coaches). Makerere university was quick to reach out to KFAF president after the demonstration of the sport in JKUAT. Kenya Federation of American football will help to build up a plan for that purpose.
The American football team is in preparation to host a foreign team into the country from Jordan for an international friendly. The team is expected in March and this will be the first team for international competition.
2016 has been been our year of growth, we look forward to 2017 for much more better growth and development of the sport.