Basketball: Odendo says KPA won't be pushovers in match

By Ernest Ndunda | Oct 13, 2022
Kenya Ports Authority's Victor Odendo dribbles past Victor Bosire of Ulinzi Wariors in past league action. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Talent-laden Kenya Ports Authority men’s basketball squad is a team on a mission. 

Captain Victor Adendo knows what lays ahead for the team as they prepare for the first round qualifiers of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) in Madagascar. 

To them, the only way to qualify for the for the second round is by being in their best shape. They can't falter. They can't do anything different. 

“We are well prepared to face our opponents. The team is brimming with confidence and our focus is to advance to the second round and hopefully qualify, for the main Africa elite BAL league,” said the captain after the team’s training session at Makande Indoor Gymnasium, in Mombasa. 

He said their opponents have prepared well for the tournament that begins next Tuesday, to October 23 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. 

“We are looking forward to be the surprise package that will defy all odds and advance to the second and final qualifiers in December,” said Odendo, adding that players will be out to make a name for themselves. 

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the second round to be played in December. 

The top three teams from the second round will automatically qualify for the main league of 12 elite teams to play in the Africa’s top men’s basketball league where the league is sponsored by Nike, Air Jordan and Pepsi. 

KPA are in pool D together with hosts COSPN, Djabal Basket of Comoros Islands, Zimbabwe’s Foxes Basketball Club, Dekeddaha Sports Club (Somalia) and Mauritius’s Roche Bois Warriors. 

The team's coach Sammy Kiki said the team started its residential camp last Sunday in Mombasa and will leave for the tournament on Sunday. 

“We are full house and we have put more emphasises on defensive and shooting skills and be ready for whoever we are up against in Madagascar,” said Kiki. 

He said he has identified two American players who will join the team today (Thursday) and bolster the squad before flying out on Sunday. 

Rules of BAL allows teams to beef up their squads with two African players and same number of players outside the continent. 

The dockers will be making their second return to the qualifiers after 2019 when they made their debut at the inaugural event and made it to the second round before bundled out. 

“As national champions, we are looking forward to become the first Kenyan team to play in the main competition and take our players to another level,” said Kiki. 

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