Kenya’s 3×3 basketball team fired up after narrow miss at African Games
- Kenyan women’s 3 by 3 basketball team ranked fourth at the African Games after losing to Congo 21-10 in the third place-playoff played Sunday evening at the Parc Olm Souissi in Rabat here in Morocco.
- The Kenyans were en route to writing a fairy tale when they thumped Tunisia 16-13 to qualify for the last four only to be eliminated by Nigeria 16-6 and thus had to face Congo who also lost 21-17 to Mali in another semi-final match.
- For starters, a 3x3 basketball match is played by three players in each side with one player in the substitute’s bench.
Gilbert Kiprotich in Rabat, Morocco
Kenyan women’s 3 by 3 basketball team ranked fourth at the African Games after losing to Congo 21-10 in the third place-playoff played Sunday evening at the Parc Olm Souissi in Rabat here in Morocco.
The Kenyans were en route to writing a fairytale when they thumped Tunisia 16-13 to qualify for the last four only to be eliminated by Nigeria 16-6 and thus had to face Congo who also lost 21-17 to Mali in another semi-final match.
For starters, a 3×3 basketball match is played by three players in each side with one player in the substitute’s bench.
It is played for a period of 10 minutes with the first team to reach 21 scores before the stipulated period elapses being declared the winner. However, if the 10 minutes elapses without any team scoring 21points then the team with the highest score carries the day.
Although the game shares majority of the features with the regular basketball match, another outstanding difference is that the 3×3 game is played half court using one basket.
It was the first time the game featured at the African Games with the sport attracting 10 men teams and 12 women teams from across the continent.
While Kenyan men were eliminated early at the preliminary stage, the women team defied odds with the trio of Daisy Ayodi, Caroline Njeri and Christine Akinyi surviving by the skin of their teeth to reach the semis.
They lost their first two matches to Uganda and hosts Morocco before recovering to beat Tunisia 16-13 at the quarter finals despite the team playing with only three players as the fourth one did not travel with team.
“I am proud of my team. We just came in and started our matches immediately because there was a lot of confusion surrounding our participation, we had to break camp we were told we would not be coming. Secondly, we did not have an extra player because of the paperwork and so I am contended with the result because I know we did our best,” said head coach Tony Ochieng.
According to Ochieng, Kenya can make tremendous progress in the team if all the stakeholders support the venture.
“I am requesting the Kenya Basketball Federation and the government to work closely in order to spread this game to the grassroots beginning with schools and colleges then we can develop even a national league. That is the way to go,” added Ochieng who also doubles up as Strathmore Blades head coach.
Teenager Caroline Njeri emerged as the best shooter in the women’s category after her master class in three-point shooting competition that saw her rank first although it was not in the medal bracket and thus drawing praise from her coach.
“Njeri is only 19 years and we are going to find the best way to nurture her and I would also request the National Olympic Committee of Kenya to consider her for the youth development programs,” said Ochieng.
After the African Games, the team quickly shifts their focus to the Zone Five tournament set for November.
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