Kenya hoping to earn quarter-final slot after impressive comeback victory against Cape Verde
Kenya national women’s basketball team, Lionesses, will take on Mozambique tonight in a tough Fiba Women’s Afrobasket quarter-final qualification round in Yaounde, Cameroon, as they seek to progress to the semi-finals.
The Lionesses missed an automatic ticket to the quarter-final after finishing second in Group A, following their 74-50 loss to Cameroon and a hard-fought 61-58 victory over Cape Verde, forcing them to go for a qualification round to try and make it to the last eight.
Hosts Cameroon, defending champions Nigeria, Senegal and the first runners-up Mali all qualified automatically to the quarterfinals by virtue of topping their groups leaving Kenya (second in Group A), Cape Verde (third in Group A), Angola (second in Group B), Mozambique (third in Group B), Egypt (second in Group C), Guinea (third in Group C), Ivory Coast (second in Group D) and Tunisia (third in Group D) to battle it out for the remaining four slots available in the quarterfinals.
Egypt will take on Tunisia in the first match of the day scheduled at 1pm as Angola faces off with Cape Verde in the second match from 4pm.
Ivory Coast lock horns with Guinea in the third match of the day at 7pm before paving way for Kenya Lionesses match against Mozambique from 10pm tonight at the Palais Polyvalent des Sports arena.
Lionesses will be seeking to avenge their 55-39 loss they suffered at the hands of Mozambique on August 10, 2019, during this competition’s last edition held in Dakar, Senegal, where the Kenyan girls failed to win any single match, while Mozambique dazzled in the championship, finishing impressively fourth.
On paper, Mozambique who are regarded as a decent team that has never won the Fiba Women’s Afrobasket, having finished second thrice in the competition in 1986, 2003, and 2013 as well as semifinalists in 2019, finishing fourth overall, seem to have an upper hand against Lionesses in this match.
However, a charged Lionesses are out to restore their lost glory this year, having been finalist, finishing second in the 1993 edition and fourth in the 1997 edition, and will, therefore, be motivated by this previous good show in the competition to stop fancied Mozambican side in tonight’s quarterfinal playoff, and advance to the last eight scheduled for tomorrow.
The Kenyan girls’ trip to the Women’s Afrobasket tournament started in 1985 when they went to Maputo, Mozambique, for the five-team event, where they, however, lost all their matches and finished last in their debut.
But the tide changed swiftly in the next championship in Dakar, Senegal in 1993 where they stunned many by going all the way to the finals only to lose 89-43 to hosts and eventual winners Senegal.