Eyes on the prize: Morans made easy work of their opponents

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 23:24 |
Valentine Nyakina of Kenya Morans beats Mahad Haji of Somalia during the Afro-Basketball pre-qualifiers at Gymnasium yesterday. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Kenya picked her third win of the championship after a 102-77 outcome against a hard fighting Somalia that they had initially struggled against in the first half. 

The hosts came from 8-3 down in the first quarter to force a one point lead (24-23) at the of the period.

The second quarter was equally tough on the hosts as they managed 20 points while their opponents made 23 to head to the half-time with a two-point lead.

While Somalia were lost in the excitement, coach Cliff Owuor and his assistant Sadat Gaya’s pep talk worked as Morans made easy work of their opponents in the third quarter, scoring 31 points against 12.

The final quarter ended 27-19 in favour of the hosts as they won 102-77.

Kenya last featured at the Afro-basketball championship in 1993, having qualified as hosts.

The chance to go back to that platform has presented itself through the pre-qualifiers and eventually the qualifiers ahead of the competition set for Rwanda next year.

As the pre-qualifiers ongoing at Nyayo Indoor Gymnasium come to a close tomorrow, Kenya Morans will be hoping to be the only team standing.

Going by the six teams’ performances in the last three days, it could easily come down to Morans fighting for the slot against an impressive South Sudan. The hosts play Burundi today while South Sudan take on Tanzania.

The said clash is scheduled for Saturday as the last match of the competition. Despite it being a round-robin six-team competition, this has been dubbed ‘the final’.

While South Sudan have seemingly won their matches effortlessly, Kenya had some sloppy moments in their match against Tanzania. The hosts strolled to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and that gave them a cushion in the succeeding quarter for a 36 point win.

Coach Cliff Owuor’s charges, Morans, found themselves in foul trouble more often than necessary in the match against Tanzania. Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota fouled out of the match in the fourth quarter.

Against a team as good as South Sudan, it is paramount that Morans avoid such. 

The two sides can easily each other, making for an entertaining clash tomorrow. However, for Kenya to have an edge over the South Sudanese, rebounding and stopping their opponent’s three-point shooters will be crucial. 

Unlike Owuor, who has four players plying their trade outside the country,  Deng’s squad is laded with pros with only one local-based player in Athiey Lwal.

Four play in Australia, two in Mexico, two more are based in the USA, while two others are in Spain. One plays in Maldives.

South Sudan continued their domination on day three as they achieved another century after a 100-59 win against Burundi. 

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