Kenya Morans take aim at fancied foes Senegal

Kenya Morans Small forward Preston Bungei during their training session at the Nyayo National Stadium on November 14, 2020.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya breathed a sigh of relief after Senegal released their final 12-man roster that does not have their NBA superstars.
  • The 7'5 tall Tacko Fall of Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz guard George Niang and Memphis Grizzlies centre Gorgui Dieng were left out of the squad.

In Kigali, Rwanda.

“Bring them on!” bullish Kenyan-American player Preston Bungei said ahead of Morans opening AfroBasket qualifying match against fancied Senegal at the indoor Kigali Arena Wednesday.

Bungei will not only be playing his first match for Kenya, he stepped on African soil for the first time on November 9 when the plane touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Australia where he is currently based.

The 6’8 tall all-round player, who has mainly lived in America for most of his life, believes with a good game plan Kenya can tame Senegal.

"I have watched Senegal play twice. In one of the games against Mozambique, I can tell that they are beatable,” Bungei said an interview with Nation Sport.

He said the Senegalese players are tall, have good built and are very athletic.

"We have to stay focused to ensure we do a lot of boxing out to keep them outside the paint and force them to go for the shooting option where they are not consistent. We must contest all the Senegalese’s shots,” the player said.

Kenya Morans' Tyler Okari and Preston Bungei at Kigali International Airport on November 23, 2020.



Photo credit: Philip Onyango | Nation Media Group

Bungei said that he has been able to know his fellow players better during the two weeks he has trained with them. “The sky is the limit,” he said.

"My fellow Morans have made life easy for me since I joined them. They are very accommodative and good people. From the training we have had and motivation from the government, I feel we are the favourites.”

Bungei’s father is from Kapsabet in Nandi County and his mother is an America. He is optimistic of a successful championship. Thereafter, during his two-week stay in Kenya, he intends to visit his family in Kapsabet and also tour Mombasa before returning to Australia.

Teammate Tylor Okari backed Bungei’s sentiments. He said warned opponents to prepare for a gigantic fight.

"It will not be easy for our opponents because we have assembled a very good team. The motivation from the government was on another level. It is the best ever that I have ever experienced as a Kenyan player,” Okari said.

Team manager Christopher "Magic" Ogutu was on top of the moon when all the Kenyan players and team officials tested negative for Covid-19.

Kenya Morans' Preston Kiprono Bungei and Tylor Okari wait for their Covid 19 tests at the Le Paisse Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda on November 23, 2020.


Photo credit: Philip Onyango | Nation Media Group

"The results are negative after our quarantine. We’ve had two training sessions and played a friendly match against South Sudan which we won 68-66 without our three players Bush Wamukota, Tylor Okari and Preston Bungei. Okari, Bungei and co-team manager Maxim Milimu landed last night and are in mandatory 24-hour quarantine,” Ogutu, a former Kenyan international and Kenya Ports Authority point guard, said Tuesday.

Kenya breathed a sigh of relief after Senegal released their final 12-man roster that does not have their NBA superstars.

The 7'5 tall Tacko Fall of Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz guard George Niang and Memphis Grizzlies centre Gorgui Dieng were left out of the squad.

However, the team is dominated by players plying their trade in Spain, Belgium and France. Only two players from Senegal’s top league side AS Douanes basketball club, Alkaly Ndour and Louis Adams, are on the team.

This should be good news for Morans who will, however, need to apply all tricks in the book to contain the giants of Africa basketball.

"We respect the Senegalese, but don't fear them. Infact, we had prepared for the NBA stars. We will still stick to our plans. We want to be among the three teams from group “B” to qualify for the AfroBasket finals set for this same venue next August,” coach Cliff Owuor said.

FIXTURES
Wednesday

Kenya v Senegal 6pm

Angola v Mozambique 8pm

Thursday

Kenya v Angola

Nigeria v Sudan Sudan

Mozambique v Senegal

Mali v Rwanda

Friday

Kenya v Mozambique

Tunisia v Madagascar

Senegal v Angola

CAR v DRC Congo

Saturday

DR Congo v Tunisia

Madagascar v CAR

S. Sudan v Mali

Rwanda v Nigeria

Sunday

Rwanda v S. Sudan

Nigeria v Mali

Tunis v CAR

Madagascar v DR Congo

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