As the East Africa Schools Games action draw closer, Dagoretti High School’s rise to the top echelons of School Games which has made them a force to reckon with in the country has caught the attention of observers and they’ll be keenly monitored in Arusha, Tanzania when the fiesta gets underway on Saturday.
The Nairobi based school will send three teams in basketball, football and rugby 15s to the regional showpiece to run from August 17-25 and the school’s Principal Peter Orero, the brain behind their upward trajectory, has offered an intriguing insight into his side’s current success.
Orero, also the chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) in a wide ranging interview with Citizen Digital, attributed the school’s success in the sports to diligence, resourceful scouting and an effervescent management.
“We have good structures put in place. For instance we identify the talents among the students as soon as they join Form One and that’s why we are able to compete in almost every discipline,” he said. “Everyone is involved; the students, the teachers, support staff and even the parents and this make things run smoothly.”
Orero who is renowned for nurturing and producing potent talent in Kenya in every school he has managed revealed that his administration has employed coaches for each discipline – paid by the school.
“You see we have invested heavily by having special coaches who are not teachers and whose work solely is to train the players during games times,” he said. “But I am also privileged because I can also train football and basketball.”
Interestingly, all his three teams will go to Arusha as runners up after falling short in the finals held in Kisumu but he says it was “a good finish putting in mind it is his third year at the school”.
“Yes we are going as number twos but show me any other school which is taking three teams to Arusha, and this tells you we have started our journey to elevate Dago (Dagoretti) to a centre of excellence in sports and come next year we will dominate,” he said with conviction.
In Term One national games held in Mombasa, Dagoretti rugby 15s mesmeric run catapulted them to runners up position; their best ever finish in history where they grabbed East Africa’s second slot alongside champions Kakamega and third-place finishers Kangaru.
Also in Mombasa, their basketball team coached by Orero himself, finished second behind champions Laiser Hill, also booking an East Africa place.
En-route to the nationals, Dagoretti broke Upper Hill’s dominance in basketball in brutal fashion, announcing their arrival at the helm with gusto at the expense of his immediate employers who had dominated the discipline for ages.
In the just concluded Term Two national games held in Kisumu, Dagoretti’s fairytale run in football ended in the finals losing to St. Antony on post-match shootouts but that notwithstanding, the team, for the first time, will be competing in the regional games.
Orero’s past success
Orero, a sports enthusiast per excellence joined Dagoretti in 2017 from Upper Hill where he led the Nairobi based school to national accolades with much ease.
Under his stint, Upper Hill dominated basketball in Nairobi and were regulars at the national games. At the nationals, they won three titles and were champions at the 2013 East Africa games held in Lira, Uganda.
Before joining Upper Hill, the principal who is also a football and basketball coach spent 12 years at Kamukunji where he was a games master with former Gor Mahia captain Musa Mohammed, Harambee Stars hitman Michael Olunga, Victor Wanyama, Dennis Oliech, and MacDonald Mariga among the long list of football players scouted by him.
At Lang’ata High School where he had a short stint before joining Upper Hill, Orero is remembered for nurturing and moulding Victor Wanyama’s younger sister Mercy Wanyama to basketball star.
Wanyama has since established herself as Kenya’s best power forward and in March this year she penned a short-term deal with second-tier Spanish side Antuna Adba.