Women national team’s return to Africa basketball contest hangs in balance as the Ministry of Sports remains silent on providing air tickets, accommodation and allowances.
The team were set to leave for Dakar, Senegal, tomorrow to the 2019 FIBA Afrobasket championships that begin on Saturday. By yesterday, they expected that the government would respond on time and secure their travel latest by Friday morning so they can arrive in the West African country on time.
Kenya returns to the continental scene after five years absence having featured in 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique. The team were eager to emulate their men compatriots Kenya Morans who finished second behind the Democratic Republic of Congo last month in Bamako, Mali.
Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) treasurer Peter Orero confirmed the development saying the girls felt neglected. “They have been in high spirits since they resumed training camp about a month ago but after they learned of their current situation, they feel neglected because they were eager to give their all and make Kenya proud just like the men’s team,” Orero said.
He said they hope Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia will perhaps respond and save the situation. “It is true that we don’t have funds and the trip may not happen if the PS does not respond. We have tried reaching him out too but there is no response as at now, even so, we are hoping he will respond as he did for the men’s team.”
Orero was confident with the team saying they had the potential to perform even better than the men. “No one expected the men’s team to excel in Mali and they made Kenya proud. All these girls need is support and once they get it, they will give their all.”
Kenya will battle 12 other nations for continental glory. They launch their quest in Group D which also has Mozambique and Cape Verde. Defending champions Nigeria are in Group B alongside Cameroon and Tunisia. Hosts Senegal, Egypt and Ivory Coast battle it out in Group A while Mali, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in Group C.
Kenya’s squad of 14 are training before naming of the travelling squad of 12. Salma Akinyi replaces Christine Akinyi who will represent Kenya at the 2019 Africa Games in Morocco. They have a friendly match today against the men’s side.