Kenya Ports Authority women basketball team leave the country Friday morning for the Fiba Africa Zone Five Club Championships which tip-off in Dar es Salaam Tanzania on Sunday.
The on form Dockers, who completed the National Classic Basketball League regular season with an unbeaten home record, go for the regional games as clear favourites to reclaim the title they lost to rivals Equity Bank at the same venue.
KPA are expected to battle for the title with defending champions Equity Bank, JKL Dolphins and APR from Rwanda expected to be their main challengers.
Head coach Mike Opel is happy that the team is getting stronger after a slow start to the season.
Opel said the national team players in the squad are leading from the front having played a pivotal role in the team’s match to top of the table with 42 points, one point ahead champions Equity Bank who have a game in hand.
“I have a very good team that should challenge for not only the regional title but the continental title as well, said the former Kenya international.
"We have worked on all the finer details about the team tactics and chemistry which give me a lot of hope as a coach.”
National team captain Hilda Indasi, Selin Okumu, Christine Akinyi, Becky Nkatha, Natalie Akinyi, Debra Atieno, Vilma Awino and Beryl Aoko, all Lionesses players, make the team which also has Cynthia Irankunda, Betty Kalanga, Racheal Wandago, Beryl Milungo, Donasana Obonyo and captain Brenda Angeshi.
“This is a strong team which has trained together enough times. We cannot underrate our opponents but I believe they will have to dig deep to match our strength," added Opel.
Equity Bank leave for Dar es salaam on Saturday with coach David Maina pegging his title defence on the experienced hands of internationals Silalei Shani, Linda Alandoi, Samba Mjomba, Annrose Mandela, Betty Kananu, Melisa Akinyi and Belinda Okoth.
“We have been training for a while and I must say the interbank that concluded a fortnight ago did well to further put the players into the correct shape for the championships,” he said.
Ten women teams from across the East Africa region have confirmed participation at this event.