Morans make their mark, but can they go the distance?


Morans make their mark, but can they go the distance?
Kenya Morans Eric Mutoro celebrates scoring against South Sudan during their FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers match at Nyayo Gmnasium stadium in Nairobi on January 18, 2020. (Photo/Sportpicha/Stafford Ondego)

In Summary

  • When the dust finally settles on Morans historic 74-68 win over South Sudan in the FIBA Afro basket pre-qualifiers, focus will quickly shift to overcoming the giants of African basketball in the next round of qualifiers slated for November.
  • Kenya is one of the five winners from the pre-qualification stages that will join the 15 teams that took part in the FIBA Afro Basket 2017 in Tunisia.

When the dust finally settles on Morans historic 74-68 win over South Sudan in the FIBA Afro basket pre-qualifiers, focus will quickly shift to overcoming the giants of African basketball in the next round of qualifiers slated for November.

Kenya is one of the five winners from the pre-qualification stages that will join the 15 teams that took part in the FIBA Afro Basket 2017 in Tunisia.

Kenya has been pooled with heavyweights Angola who are ranked second in the continent, fourth ranked Senegal and the 13th ranked Mozambique. These are based on last year’s official FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

The matches will be played in a two-leg qualification format with the top three qualifying automatically for the FIBA Afro Basket 2021 to be held in Rwanda in March.

But with their impressive pre-qualifying campaign so far, can Cliff Owuor’s charges march on the way by defeating giants to bag a slot to Rwanda?

“We just need to work hard and pick a good team; prepare them well because the next level of qualifications is tough. I can assure the nation that if the management supports us, we will qualify.”

Kenya has made great strides in the sport in recent years. With the win against South Sudan coupled with last year’s second place finish at the AfroCan in Bamako Mali, and Owuor believes the team has started on a journey.

“It is a great thing for us and I love the commitment of the players and the character that they have shown. They have shown discipline, will and the desire to perform. We want to change basketball in this country,” he bullishly charged.

Young Morans

Owuor gave youngster Fidel Okoth from Strathmore his debut in national colours and he believes the future lies with the youngsters.

“The older players are one day going to retire so we need to bring in one or two younger guys to be able to experience that level of competition so that when others leave the stage, they will be the ones to take charge.”

He however urged local clubs to get a standardized way of playing the game to make it easier for their players to get the smooth transition required into the national team. This, he argues, will help the players understand better what happens in the national teams while also making it easier for the national team coaches.

The qualification matches will take place on November this year and February 2021 in venues yet to be announced.

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Story By Harold Odoro
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