Nairobi Governor Mike ‘Mbuvi’ Sonko on Monday hosted Kenya’s National Basketball team, The Morans, at the City Hall after winning silver medal in the just concluded inaugural FIBA AfroCan basketball tournament in Bamako, Mali.
Kenya’s Morans lost 61-82 to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to finish second.
“Today, I hosted the Kenya National Basketball team "The Morans" at City Hall after arrival from Bamako, Mali, where they finished second in the FIBA Afrocan basketball tournament,” said Sonko on his official Twitter page.
The Governor also rewarded them with Sh1m for their stunning performance and promised to continue supporting sports.
“I'll continue to do my best in supporting sports especially with construction of sports facilities across Nairobi in order to boost development of sports by nurturing talents of our youths. I also rewarded the team Sh1m for their stunning performance in the continental tournament,” he tweeted.
Kenya’s main man and tournament top scorer Tyler Okari scored a match-high 21 points but his effort was not good enough to help Kenya overcome DRC.
DRC took the first quarter 29-18 but Kenya recovered to score 19-7 in the second and take a one point lead at halftime.
On resumption, the Congolese ruled the second half scoring 29 points against Kenya’s 10 in the third quarter and 17-14 in the fourth period to be crowned champions.
Okari and Tom “Bush” Wamukota made it to AfroCan All-Stars first-five list that also had tournament Most Valuable Player Maxi Shamba who anchored DRC’s campaign, his teammate Jordan Sacko, and Edson Ndoniema from Angola.
Okari won the top scorers award while Wamukota grabbed the best blocker accolade.
Kenya coach Cliff Owuor lauded his charges saying even though they did not win the trophy, they had fought a good fight and the country can build on Morans’ performance to improve the standards of the sport in the country.
“The final result didn’t go our way but the boys played well and showed courage. Finishing second in a continental competition is a good achievement and as a country, we can build on that to improve our standards,” Owuor said.
Despite falling to the Congolese, it was no mean feat for the Kenyan boys, who had a brilliant outing downing Africa’s top ranked nations to reach the final.
Kenya shook off the underdogs tag in Group B that also had Africa’s top nation Nigeria and champions DRC, who were ranked 11th.
Perhaps it was their 81-69 thrashing of Africa’s number one Nigeria at the group stage that inspired them to fight on and finish second overall.
Kenya became solid and improved with every match they played.
Shooting guard Okari’s basket at the buzzer guided the Kenyans to victory over the fancised Ivory Coast. They won 85-83 to reach the quarter-finals.
Having eliminated Ivory Coast, who are seeded eighth in Africa, Tunisia were next on line for the Kenyans.
Eager to make a good account for themselves, Kenya had no regard for the North Africans, who are fourth on the continent, as they battled to bag the last four slot with a 82-76 overtime victory.
The Kenyans showed courage playing to a 68 ups score in regular time before dominating the overtime period scoring 16 points against Tunisia’s eight.
In the semis, Kenya defeated another African giant Morocco. Kenyans dominated the Moroccans from the onset chalking a towering 30-point victory as they downed their opponents 96-66.
Angola beat Morocco 88-71 to complete the podium.
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