On Saturday, Kenya men’s basketball team beat South Sudan in the final of Fiba Afro-Basketball Championship pre-qualifiers at Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium in Nairobi.
As the team reached the final unbeaten, against South Sudan, easily the toughest team in the tournament, some local fans had to be turned away from the venue, indicating that Kenyans are hungry for high-quality basketball action.
Kenya Morans will now take on Senegal, Angola and Mozambique in Pool ‘A’ of the qualifiers proper in Rwanda in March.
The top three teams from the qualifiers will play in the 2021 Fiba Afro-Basketball Championships in Rwanda in August.
In recent years, Kenya has made gains in basketball. Notably, they beat Egypt to win Africa Zone Five title last year and also reached the final of 2019 AfroCan Basketball Championship in Mali, where they narrowly lose to DR Congo.
The team’s performance is encouraging and points to the huge potential Kenya has in basketball.
With proper management, the team can go places. This is why Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) must put its act together and organise a robust league devoid of fixtures congestion and last-minute match cancellations.
The week-long Fiba Afro-Basketball Championship pre-qualifiers also faced a number of challenges. For instance, there was poor planning of matches. The final match also suffered from poor crowd control.
Probably, the championship should have been hosted at Kasarani Indoor Gymnasium instead of Nyayo, which has limited capacity.
Hosting major sporting events requires proper planning and coordination, and KBF must address the shortfalls witnessed at this event if Kenya is to host such championships in future.