With the Africa Cup of Nations men’s basketball finals beckoning in Mali next month, the Kenya national team has stepped up training with high altitude sessions at Ngong Hills.
It will be Kenya’s first appearance at the continental finals and Kenya Basketball Federation chairman Paul Otula is confident the team will give a good account of themselves in Bamako.
The team shocked everyone, including themselves, with their historic win over the dreaded Egypt at the continental qualifiers in Kampala a fortnight ago.
They even received congratulatory messages from President Uhuru Kenyatta who joined Kenyans in lauding the national men’s and women’s teams for their splendid performance at the Fiba Africa Zone Five qualifiers in Kampala. The women’s team also made it to the continental finals.
The teams will on Saturday be treated to a thanksgiving dinner by sponsors MadGoat at Nairobi’s Carnivore Restaurant.
The men’s team has added four new players to the training squad with the final travelling team expected to be named on Tuesday.
KPA guard Victor Odendo, Ulinzi duo of Victor Bosire and Joseph Khaemba and Fidel Okoth of Strathmore Blades have been drafted into the team which resumed residential training immediately upon return from Kampala under coaches Cliff Owuor and Carey Odhiambo.
KBF officials Otula and treasurer Peter Orero on Friday sent a passionate appeal to the government to support the team by providing transport and accommodation for the Mali assignment. “We as a federation have made sure that the team is in residential training and would want a helping hand from the government to enable us book the tickets and accommodate the teams in Mali,” they said.