What you need to know:
- Otula cashed in on the occasion to also unveil the tentative squad of 17 players for the continental assignment
- The 10-member board that is chaired by Thomas “Big Ted” Kwaka, and has been mandated to raise funds for the national teams
- Owuor said they should qualify for the final with the help from the government and the KBF administration doing their job well
Six foreign based players are expected in the country next week to bolster the national basketball team, Morans that is preparing for the AfroBasket qualifiers due from November 26 in Kigali.
The players expected to link up with the team that has been training for over two weeks are Ronnie Gundo, who plies his professional trade in Spain, Preston Bungei, who is based in Bosnia and France-based Joel Awich.
Head coach Cliff Owuor said Desmond Owili (Australia), Bush Wamukota (Rwanda) and Tyler Okari (Denmark) should join the team next week.
Owuor was speaking on Saturday during the launch of the national basketball teams’ management board at the Nyayo National Stadium.
The 10-member board that is chaired by Thomas “Big Ted” Kwaka, and has been mandated to raise funds for the national teams, was unveiled by Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula.
Otula said the board will explore ways of raising funds for the national teams while KBF will work on development of the game and the running of national leagues.
“The board that will operate independently will offload a heavy burden on us,” said Otula adding that the board has a four-year mandate.
Morris Alwanga, who is a member at the board, said they intend to raise Sh 15 million for Morans as he commended the government for stepping in to provide the Nyayo National Stadium and Kasarani venues for free for the team’s training.
“We are happy the government has also provided the air tickets and accommodation for the team and our mandate now is to look for money for players motivation and allowances,” said Alwanga.
Otula cashed in on the occasion to also unveil the tentative squad of 17 players for the continental assignment.
Owuor said Algerian-based professional Ariel Okal joined the team two days ago ahead of the championship where the Morans have been pooled alongside Senegal, Angola and Mozambique.
“We have had several sessions for close to a month now but I am happy that things are gradually picking up and we are looking forward to a great performance in Kigali," said Owuor. “This will be a formidable side to work with the inclusion of the professionals.”
Owuor said they should qualify for the final with the help from the government and the KBF administration doing their job well.
Even though they will be under pressure to perform following their previous good run, Owuor said his charges will be up to the task in Kigali.
“People say we are in the group of death, but I say we are part of that death because the confidence level of the team is pretty high and the players are upbeat and focused. With this, it’s easy to convince them to stay away from things that can distract them,” said Owuor.
Owuor said the players are cognisant of the weight they are carrying on their backs hence that brings in discipline in the team.
“I believe we shall be able to challenge these teams that have been there before like former champions Angola and Senegal,” said Owuor.
Owuor said pressure will always be there as a coach but said that is what will inspire them to perform well. “It’s something that is achievable if the process is well managed.
Team captain Griffin Ligare hailed the inclusion of foreign based players saying it will bring professional intensity into the team.
“They are not coming in to disrupt what we are doing but to reinforce the systems and take us from where we are to the next level. Everyone is excited about it,” said Ligare adding that what is important to them is their preparation phase.
Otula said the squad will be whittled down to 15 players but the final traveling squad of 12 will be named on departure day owing to the Covid-19 situation.