What you need to know:
- By Friday evening, Zone V representatives Kenya were yet to feel the competition venue in Yaounde as they waited for their coronavirus test results
- Cameroonian-born Kenya Morans assistant coach Abel Herve Nson Batik said this match provides Mayienga’s side with a good opportunity to put pressure on the hosts
- One of the key players Kenya will be banking on is American-born Victoria Reynolds who emerged the Most Valuable Player during the qualification phase in Rwanda in July
Coach George Mayienga expects a tough battle when the 25th edition of Fiba AfroBasket tips off with “Battle of the Lionesses” between Kenya and hosts Cameroon in Yaounde on Saturday night.
By Friday evening, Zone V representatives Kenya were yet to feel the competition venue in Yaounde as they waited for their coronavirus test results.
Mayienga’s charges arrived in Cameroon a day late on Thursday afternoon due to a visa hitch. They left Nairobi via Addis Ababa the same day at 5.00am aboard Ethiopian Airlines.
“We are about to head to our first workout, depending on the outcome of our Covid-19 tests which we had on Thursday,” said Mayienga.
Regarding Kenya’s first match at the 12-nation biennial competition, Mayienga added:
“All teams have arrived here. Every team is tight. We are not sure what Cameroon will bring on the table because we have not met in a long time. The only video clip of them that we have managed to get is from 2019 and a lot could have changed since that time.”
Kenya have met Cameroon at the AfroBasket four times. Kenya suffered humiliation of 103-69 in their first clash in 1986 in Maputo, Mozambique. They got their revenge by hammering the Cameroonians 81-68 at home in Nairobi in 1997.
However, things have not turned out well for Kenya in the last two meetings. They surrendered narrowly 59-55 in 2007 in Senegal before being outwitted 61-39 in 2013 in Mozambique. Both matches were in the group phase.
Cameroonian-born Kenya Morans assistant coach Abel Herve Nson Batik said this match provides Mayienga’s side with a good opportunity to put pressure on the hosts.
Kenya have been to the AfroBasket seven times, while Cameroon are competing in their 14th edition.
“Kenya Lionesses have the chance to put pressure on Cameroon who have dominated this fixture for a long time and will assume that they have an upper hand,” said the 44-year-old Nson.
One of the key players Kenya will be banking on is American-born Victoria Reynolds who emerged the Most Valuable Player during the qualification phase in Rwanda in July. Kenya shocked Egypt 99-83 in the final in Kigali.
Ramses Lonlack is one of the key players for Cameroon coached by Ahmed Mbombo Njoya.
Other teams in Yaounde are Nigeria (defending champions), Angola and Mozambique (Group B), Senegal, Egypt and Guinea (Group C) and Mali, Ivory Coast and Tunisia (Group D).
The best two teams will advance to one of the qualifying tournaments for the 2022 Fiba World Cup.
1. Rose Ouma (Captain)
2. Victoria Reynolds
3. Natalie Akinyi
4. Melissa Akinyi (Assistant Captain)
5. Jemimah Night
6. Selina Okumu
7. Georgia Adhiambo
8. Mercy Wanyama
9. Brenda Wasuda
10. Vilma Owino
11. Christine Akinyi
12. Ivy Opicho
1. Joseph Amoko - Head of Delegation
2. George Mayienga - Head Coach
3. Mike Opel - Assistant Coach
4. Eunice Ouma - Biosecurity officer for COVID-19
5. Sylvia Kamau – Team Manager
6. Angela Luchivya - Federation Official
7. Hilary Kubai - Doctor
8. Farida Kavere - Physiotherapist