What you need to know:
- Former Kenyan champions Equity earned a wild card.
Basketball queens Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) have set a minimum target of a podium finish at the inaugural Fiba Africa Women's Basketball League (AWBL) scheduled from December 11-19 in Egypt.
The dockers jet out for Cairo on Thursday at 10pm for the annual event, rebranded from Fiba Africa Champions Cup Women to AWBL.
KPA are not the only representatives from teh Africa Zone 5. Rwanda Energy Group (REG), who lost 87-53 in the AWBL Zone 5 Qualifiers final to KPA last month in Kigali and bronze medallists Equity Bank Hawks, are also in the 12-team competition.
Former Kenyan champions Equity earned a wild card.
Coach Ben Oluoch’s Equity suffered a shocking 76-61 loss against REG in the semi-finals before striking bronze by outlasting JKL Lady Dolphins from Uganda 78-74.
“Preparations have been super for the last few weeks. We don’t have any injuries and we are raring to go. The team is in high spirits and I have confidence we are going to do well,” said KPA head coach Anthony Ojukwu on Thursday.
Assistant coach Brenda Angeshi reiterated that they had good preparations after KPA finalised its training on Thursday morning.
“We had almost everyone in camp except three (Natalie Akinyi, Hilda Indasi and Madina Okot) who represented Kenya at the Fiba 3x3 Africa Cup in Cairo, but have since joined us,” said Angeshi, a former KPA captain.
“We have everyone who we had intended to take with us in this championship. The rest we leave in God's hands and the girls will execute. With the head coach's experience, we believe we will perform to the best of our abilities,” said Angeshi.
KPA have heavily beefed up their squad by signing Americans Antoinette Bannister and Dyana Pierre, Aminata Samassekou from Mali, American-born Kenyan international Victoria Reynolds and Zetech Sparks teenager Madina Okot.
Samassekou, Reynolds and Okot were part of the team that won the Zone 5 title in Rwanda last month.
The best performance by a Kenyan team in the club competition goes to Eagle Wings, who finished third in Meknes, Morocco, in 2013 behind Angolan clubs Inter Clube and Primeiro de Agosto, who bagged gold and silver, respectively.
Will KPA write their own piece of history?
1. Natalie Akinyi
2. Antoinnete Barrister
3. Selina Okumu
4. Rita Aluoch
5. Hilda Indasi
6. Dyana Pierre
7. Linda Alando
8. Rebecca Nkatha
9. Rachael Wandago
10. Yvonne Atieno
11. Aminata Samassekou
12. Victoria Reynolds
13. Belinda Okoth
14. Madina Okot