Lionesses intensify preps with Afro-basket contest close to start

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 00:00 |
Kenya women’s basketball team Lionesses during a past Africa Zone Five match. Photo/FILE

Women’s national basketball team, Kenya Lionesses’ preparations for this year’s FIBA Women’s AfroBasket, set for August 10-18 in Dakar, Senegal, have intensified.

Kenya are targeting a top six finish from the continental showpiece which will earn the a ticket to the FIBA Africa’s pre-qualifying tournament to the  2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Lionesses are making a comeback to the games after missing the last two editions and have landed a Group D that has Mozambique and Cape Verde.

The top teams in each group will advance directly to the quarter-finals while second and third-placed side play the qualification round with the winner advancing to the quarter-finals.

In the absence of Kenyan internationals Rose Ouma and Felmas Koranga, coach Ronny Owino will rely on the experience of Mercy Wanyama and Georgia Adhiambo, the only players in camp plying their trade outside the country.

“We are in a tough group that has Africa’s powerhouse Mozambique and Cape Verde which have greatly improved. We will play our hearts out as we seek to improve our 10th place finish in our last appearance. Our target is to finish in the top six,” said Owino.

Mozambique are ranked fourth in Africa and 27th globally while Cape Verde are 14th, two places above Kenya in the continental ranking and 70th, in the world also two places above the East Africans. 

In the last appearance for Kenya, Lionesses faced Cape Verde, winning the group stage match in overtime but lost to the same team in a classification match. 

“We had a poor show in the AfroBasket qualifiers in Uganda. We should have qualified for this championship as the top seed in the zone but this is a chance to redeem ourselves.

Our defence was not up to scratch and so was our shooting. We lost points that we should have sunk easily but we have since worked on that,” said Owino.

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