Depleted United States International University’s Flames take on Equity Bank in Game one of the National Classic Basketball women’s league semi-final play-offs at the Nyayo National stadium gymnasium on Friday evening.
So worried is Flames coach George Mayienga that he has resigned to fate as his ill-prepared team take on the determined bankers who have vowed to win the title in their maiden appearance.
USIU are the league’s defending champions, a title they won for the first time with victory over Kenya Ports Authority last year, and coach Mayienga is dreaming of making it two in a row despite the challenges.
“We have not practised at all. My senior players have not even showed up after the Christmas festivities making tomorrow’s match very tricky,” Mayienga said during an interview on Thursday.
According to the coach, he expects to have a full team today morning and will therefore play very cautiously as they strive to find their footing in this five match series.
Mayienga said only Georgia Adhiambo, Zippy Adhiambo and Doreen Nyaga had returned to training since the college reopened on Monday while experienced guard Cynthia Irankunda and power forward Sarah Chan were expected back this morning.
Equity coach David Maina has promised his ambitious side will give the match their best shot.
“Yes, this is the first time we’re playing in the top league, but I believe the players I have have the experience of playing at this level with different teams and should therefore be equal to task,” he said.
Among the players he will be relying on are internationals Samba Mjomba, Hilda Luvandwa, Dennis Apondi, Linda Mfuchi and Eleanor Musundi.
According to KBF fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko, the first three games will be played between today and Sunday while game four and five, if need be ,will be played next weekend.
Winners will travel to Mombasa for Game One and Two of the final play-offs against KPA from January 30.