Paul Otula: Man behind B’ball transformation
From whipping boys and girls, Kenyan basketballers have emerged as giant killers and continental gurus.
Last year, the Morans raised the bar high for the Lioness in the qualifiers Afro Basketball for the Afro Championship scheduled for August 24th- September 5th Kigali Rwanda.
During last year’s qualifiers, Kenya played against Senegal, Mozambique and Angola.
Morans lost to Senegal and Mozambique but turned the tide against respected Africa’s basketball power house, Angola, to qualify for the Afro Basketball Championship.
Before that in Nairobi Kenya had edged out star studded Southern Sudan in Nairobi to proceed to Kigali Rwanda.
Just like the Morans, the Lioness clawed their way to qualify for Afro Championship in Cameroon and have a date to carry the country’s flag higher.
The Lioness lost the first game to the host Rwanda and beat Southern Sudan but lost to Egypt however proceeded to Semi-finals. This was the first time in history that the Lioness beat the Egyptian team.
Lately, basketball has been the toast of every Kenya with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga joining other Kenyans in congratulating the teams.
Behind the success story of Moran’s and Lioness, there is an elephant pulling the strings to make things happen.
The President. Paul Agali Otula, a respected educationist, sports personality, coach and administrator.
The quiet and soft spoken Otula is a strict adherent to law to the letter. His huge figure looms large from the court to every corner of the basketball fraternity.
Just like he transformed Mangu High School and Maseno National School as basketball national and regional championships.
Otula has taken his management prowess to the sports and transformed the discipline as one of the top notch fields in the country.
Otula is credited for turning schools where he had headed to top performers in national examination and sports centre of excellence.
‘My service is motivated by giving the best to my country and to the people who I am responsible for their growth and exposure,’ he says.
Otula says the development of basketball as a sports discipline has been as a result of deliberate strategy they put in place to invest in the sports from secondary schools and estates.
He says through this the country has had a continuous flow of talent to the national team.
‘Some of our players currently ply trade in Europe and this has seen the sport grow and that is why we are able to compete evenly with other top African teams,’ he says.