Morans eye good start in Afro-basketball opener

What you need to know:

  • Those who made the team, but were not in Mali for the Afro Can finals, where Kenya finished a respectable second are Equity Bank’s shooting guard Victor Ochieng, Ulinzi Warriors point guard Victor Bosire, Rwanda-based small forward Mike Makiada and France-based forward Robert Nyakundi.
  • Others are Thunder point guard Griffin Ligare, Ulinzi shooting guard Eric Mutoro, KPA forwards Valentine Otula, Aireal Okal, Fahim Juma of Thunder and Australia-based Desmond Owili.

For the first time in 27 years, Kenyan basketball fans will have an opportunity to watch the national men's team play at home when the Fiba Afro basket pre-qualifiers tip off at the Nyayo National Stadium Tuesday evening.

And the Kenya Basketball Federation chairman Paul Otula is pleading with the fans to turn up in large numbers and cheer on the Morans as they take on Eritrea in the opening match of the championship.

“Come and watch Kenya’s finest basketball players when Morans finally have a chance to play in front of you after a 27 year wait. I'm inviting everybody to come and cheer the team as they seek to win the qualifiers for the single ticket for the qualifiers proper," Otula said.

The last time the national men's team played in Kenya was in 1993 during the Afro basketball championships at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

According to Otula, the team has had the best preparations which puts them in the driver’s seat against their otherwise competitive opponents.

Otula said arrangements for the championship are complete, adding that all officials for the championships have had their air tickets dispatched and were expected in the country between Monday and Tuesday.

“It is going to be very competitive because Southern Sudan and Somalia have brought in the foreign legion and must therefore be scouted very well for a positive result," he said.

Meanwhile, Tunisia based centre player Bush Wamukota finally linked up with the Morans on Monday as coach Cliff Owuor named the final 12-member team to do duty for the country from Tuesday through to Saturday.

The coach has kept faith with the majority of the players who did duty for the country at last year’s Afro Can Championship qualifiers in Uganda where Kenya emerged victors after sweeping side among others bigwigs Egypt and the hosts.

Dropped from the team is rookie Aerial Ortega, who plays for United States International University (USIU), who despite being one of Kenya’s best shooting point guards had to pave way for Strathmore Blades forward Fidel Okoth to ensure Kenya fields a big team.

“Basketball is about size most of the time because the team that controls boards has most of the time emerged victors, thus the decision to retain as many forwards as possible," Owuor said.

Those who made the team, but were not in Mali for the Afro Can finals, where Kenya finished a respectable second are Equity Bank’s shooting guard Victor Ochieng, Ulinzi Warriors point guard Victor Bosire, Rwanda-based small forward Mike Makiada and France-based forward Robert Nyakundi.

Others are Thunder point guard Griffin Ligare, Ulinzi shooting guard Eric Mutoro, KPA forwards Valentine Otula, Aireal Okal, Fahim Juma of Thunder and Australia-based Desmond Owili.

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