Injuries cost Kenyan teams in Basketball 3x3 World Cup

From left: Derrick Olang, James Mwangi, Griffin Ligare and Matthew Kibet hurdle before their match against North Macedonia in the Basketball 3x3 Red Bull Half Court World Final on September 16, 2023 in Begrade, Serbia.

Photo credit: Red Bull |

What you need to know:

  • Despite the elimination, RBK Twende captain Matthew Kibet said it was a great learning experience.

In Belgrade, Serbia

RBK Twende and Noga Ladies were on Saturday eliminated from the Basketball 3x3 Red Bull Half Court World Final in the group stages here at the Belgrade Kalemegdan.

Despite the elimination, RBK Twende captain Matthew Kibet said it was a great learning experience.

“It’s always a pleasure interacting with international players, getting to see how their system of play compares to ours and building networks to see what exactly we can borrow from each other,” said Kibet.

RBK Twende were the first team to get in action from 10am local time (11am Kenyan time) with a hard-fought 10-9 win over debutants North Macedonia.

Derrick Olang got injured late on in the second game against the Philippines with the match locked at 8-all thanks to Griffin Ligare’s three-pointer but a sublime lay-up by Kibet was not enough to ensure the second win in as many matches as the Asians scored a late three-pointer to dash the hopes of the Kenyans.

With a man down and a game to go, RBK dug deep in the last group game to stun defending champions Italy 18-8.

Their exemplary performance earned them a third place finish but were level with Sweden as the second best losers and had to battle in a playoff match for a spot in the last 16 but fell short.

“The game was really fast-paced. We were three men without Olang which made us lose a lot of energy much quicker but we put up a good fight. However, Sweden were the better team and they won,” said Kenyan International James Mwangi.

The two wins registered by RBK Twende ensured they made history by being the first Kenyan team to secure two wins in both the men’s and women’s categories in this competition. Kibet believes they bowed out of the competition with pride.

“The team chemistry was fantastic. We were definitely more fluid in our offense, defensively we were solid. Our first group games we had lower scoring games and that helped us in the first two games however, we need to have a higher percentage shots conversion.”

It was a moment of immense learning for the Noga Ladies as they bowed out winless and had to play half of their games without captain Ashley Minayo, who suffered an ankle sprain in their second group game against Sweden.

“It was very hard because we hard no substitute. This is 3x3 so it’s very intense and you need that rotation to get the best out of every player but we didn’t have that luxury and it cost us a lot,” said Agnetta Kambua.

“Ashley is one of the best players in the team and her absence left a huge gap in the squad but we managed to do what we can. I wish her quick recovery.”

Ligare booked his ticket to the 3-point contest by emerging the best with 18 out of 25 shots.

The top three players will battle it out on Sunday in the final as the men’s and women’s 3x3 teams enter the quarter-finals before proceeding to the semifinals and final.

Men's quarter-finals

Poland v Dominican Republic

Sweden v Lebabnon

Serbia v Japan

Montenegro v USA

Women's quarters

Egypt v Belgium

Philippines v Australia

UAE v Sweden

Japan v Italy