Morans’ success triggers revival hopes for local basketball

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 00:00 |
Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota (left) and Tylor Ongwae display their individual trophies after the Afro-CAN basketball finals in Bamako, Mali. Photo/LYNETTE MATHEKA

As Kenya Morans players and technical bench settle to take stock of their exploits at the inaugural African Nations’ Championship (Afro-CAN) questions linger on what next for the team and the sport in the country.

The success of the team, finishing second behind impressive Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has brought attention to the little talked about Kenyan basketball and the players have vowed not to sit on the lessons.

Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota, who made the All-Star five at the just concluded tournament, says the current squad has an elaborate plan to pass on the lessons they picked from Mali to the next generation of players to ensure Kenya basketball’s growth.

“Majority of us made their debut in the national team in Uganda and what we have achieved goes to show that with better organisation the country can be a force to reckon with in basketball.

“We plan on working with already established academies in Nairobi and move to other towns with time. We will also organise clinics with the national team players and other stakeholders.

“The idea is to ensure basketball players are molded from a tender age and that way the national team will be assured of classy players over the years,” said the sports management graduate from Wichita College in the USA.

Afro-CAN’s top scorer Tylor Ongwae who says that teams from North Africa are polished since they have structures and for Kenya to achieve that, it has to be a concerted effort of all stakeholders echoed his sentiments.

“We have to think of starting age group competitions and have a specific structured format of play for such teams. This will ensure uniformity in the basics when players transition to the senior teams,” said the Bakken Bears small forward.

While the squad focuses on developing the sport from the grass roots and ensuring continuity at the national team, they were not short of lessons for those already playing in the premier league and other senior leagues.

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