With eyes set for the 2028 World Olympics, Kenya Lacrosse Federation has announced plans to introduce the sport in at least 15 more high schools and 15 universities in the country in 2023.
The aggressive campaign will nurture and prepare players to master the game as Kenya seeks a slot when World Lacrosse makes a debut in the World Olympics in six years’ time.
The excitement follows a series of achievements made by the country in the sport when Kenya took a team to the World Lacrosse under 19 girls in Canada in 2019 representing Africa.
Lacrosse team from St. Peters Mumias Boys High school. Photo by Ann Otieno.
In August this year, Kenya took under 21 boys for the World Lacrosse Championships at the University of Limerick in Ireland where Uganda also participated. Some players who participated came from St. Peters Mumias Boys High School.
The only other African countries that have embraced the sport are Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Senegal and South Africa.
Speaking to KNA, the Vice President of Kenya Lacrosse Federation, Fred Osore said they have had discussions with sports directors of Kibabii University, Daystar University, United States International University Africa (USIU), Kenyatta University, who have expressed an interest in the sport.
“Lacrosse has been invited back to the Olympics in 2028, we want the Kenyan team to be there. I think it’s a wonderful thing to start preparing early,” he said.
The sport is currently played at St. Peters Mumias Boys High School in Kakamega, Nangili Girls High school, St. Christopher Enyapora high school, Shibale, Koyonzo, Moi Girls Eldoret, Mukumu Girls, Bishop Sulumeti High School, Khalaba High school, Maraba high school with most of the schools being based in western Kenya.
“We want to have a university league so that the boys and girls will start participating in university leagues supported by the Kenya Lacrosse Federation,” he said.
The Federation has identified coaches from the United States who will be posted in every university and high school where the sport is introduced for at least three weeks to train and mentor players. The coaches also want to mentor a local coach so that after they leave, the local coaches can take over.
“We have asked the coaches who are coming to come with some equipment which they will leave behind once they are done with their mission,” he added.
Osore says Lacrosse gives students a variety of sports to choose from and also an opportunity for them to travel across the world to participate in international tournaments.
“Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the US right now. It’s just a matter of time and many countries have been accepting this sport. The International Federation that manages this sport is called World Lacrosse and they have been pushing the sport aggressively,” he added.
How lacrosse is played
Lacrosse is a sport that originated in America by the natives and was introduced in Kenya by Storm Trentham, a player and coach based in Wales. The Game was first introduced in Mumia’s East in 2015.
Each side of the team is made up of 12 players consisting of a goal keeper, midfielders and attackers who take part in the game.
“The ball is passed from one stick to another aerially, the ball is thrown to the team mate using the stick where the team mate catches and then passes while tackling opponents. For one to score, you take that ball and you throw it into a goal. The goal is slightly smaller, six feet by six feet and there is a goal keeper who has a slightly bigger lacrosse stick,” he explained.
The game is non-contact for the girls with boys being highly-contact.
“The rules for girls and the boys are very different, for boys it is highly-contact in that they have to wear a helmet, shoulder pads, knee pads sometimes and some have a breast pad because the ball can sometimes be thrown at a very high speed. For the girls it is non-contact,” he noted.
There are three referees on the pitch with all of them having equal roles and equal responsibilities.
“A match has four quarters and every quarter is 15 minutes. So first quarter is 15 minutes then you rest for 5 minutes then after the second quarter in between you rest for 15 minutes and then the third and fourth quarter takes place,” he added.
By Moses Wekesa