Kenyans prep for African Games qualifiers with Ghana test

Wednesday May 22 2019

Kenya’s Aerial Okall (top) dunks as teammate Joseph Khaemba celebrates the basket during a friendly against Uganda last year at Nyayo National Gymnasium. Kenya’s men’s and women’s teams play Ghana Revenue Authority on May 24, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya’s Aerial Okall (top) dunks as teammate Joseph Khaemba celebrates the basket during a friendly against Uganda last year at Nyayo National Gymnasium. Kenya’s men’s and women’s teams play Ghana Revenue Authority on May 24, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

PHILIP ONYANGO
By PHILIP ONYANGO
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The national men’s and women’s basketball teams will play Ghana Revenue Authority on Friday in international friendly matches that are part of their preparations for the African Games qualifiers set for Kampala, Uganda next month.

Men’s team coach Ronnie Owino and his women’s counterpart Cliff Owuor are both confident that the teams have been given adequate preparations and that this intensive training will see them ably handle the Ghanaians.

“We have been training very well since last year and this friendly against GRA could not have come at a better time since it will help us gauge our strength and look for the weak links in the teams ahead of the qualifiers in Kampala which we expect to be very competitive,” Owino said on Tuesday.

The arrival of Spain-based power forward Mercy Wanyama at the team’s training camp on Monday, according to Owino, has boosted the team and he predicts a win against the Ghanaians.

Owino is, however, unhappy that US-based Felmas Adhiambo Koranga - who is the country on holiday - will not play in this high profile friendly, which he will use to trim his squad to 15 players, due to an injury.

“Koranga’s unavailability is a huge blow to the country because she is one of the best players not only in the region but Africa. We now hope that Uganda-based Christine Akinyi and Seychelles-based Vilma Achieng Owino will arrive in the country in time to make the team,” a disappointed Owino, who is also the Strathmore University women’s basketball team coach, said.

The experienced coach is very happy with the back court players saying that he will be spoilt for choice since everyone is enjoying good form.

Captain Hilda Indasi, who has been undergoing rehabilitation on an injury since last year, he says, should be ready to lead the team against the Ghana team alongside the experienced trio of Samba Mjomba, Seline Okumu and shooting machine Betty Kananu.

Cliff Owuor, the men’s head coach said he will be eagerly waiting for the arrival of Denmark-based Taylor Okari to boost his squad which also has been undergoing intensive training at the Nyayo National Stadium.

He continues to be impressed by the work rate of the current squad of 13 who have been training under captains Griffin Ligare of Thunder and his assistant James Mwangi of Ulinzi Warriors.

Other matches the Ghanaian teams are scheduled to play include a date with Eagle Wings on Sunday; African Nazarene on Monday; USIU on Wednesday and Equity Bank on Thursday for the women.

The men take on Ulinzi Warriors on Sunday; KPA on Monday; USIU on Wednesday; Equity on Thursday and Thunder on Friday.

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