Team trains with Brazil deaflympics in sight

OLYMPICS |
Deaf Men Basketball team players Wilson Kenda (left) and Elvis Odhiambo train at Kasarani Gymnasium on Tuesday ahead of the 1st Africa Deaf Championship to be held in Nairobi Kenya on September 11-25, 2021. Photo/ Courtesy Deafympics

Kenya men's deaf basketball team has qualified for Brazil 2022 Deaflympics Championships.

The side booked a ticket to the global event after their opponents Uganda, Rwanda and Zanzibar failed to show up for the Africa Deaflympics Ball Games qualifiers at Kasarani Stadium, in Nairobi.

"We are happy we made it to Brazil," head coach Charles Goro told Standard Sports.

"My target will be to improve on our previous rankings in the world championships. We aim to at least win a match in Brazil," he said.

And as they prepare for the Brazil championships, Goro wants his team to improve on shooting, which is his area of concern.

"Our shots are not perfect. We will work on them and other basketball fundamentals. I believe it will be easy to achieve the target with an early residential camp, probably in March next, before we depart for Brazil in May," said Goro.

By qualifying for Brazil, Kenya retained its top position in Africa in the sport.

Globally, Kenya is ranked eighth following their last-place finish in the contest in Bulgaria in 2013 and Turkey in 2017.

The current national team was selected in July this year during the national trials at Nyayo Stadium, which involved top players from all counties.

The final squad picked had been training for five weeks ahead of the continental qualifiers at Kasarani Stadium.

"Even though our rivals have not showed up, we were well prepared for the competition," said Goro.

Goro retained five experienced players to bolster his new squad for the qualifiers.

The charges are Calvin Musalia, Eliud Ochieng, Caleb Kabaka, James Ogeka and Leakey Nyabaro.

"The old players added experience to the team and they helped the new players to gel," he said.

Goro, who also coaches Kenya College of Accountancy University, believes Kenya can do well internationally, if they have better facilities.

Since he took charge of the squad, the coach has solved numerous challenges with the playing unit, among them communication through sign language.

"We came up with our own basketball signs, which have helped us simplify our interactions," said Goro.

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