KPA starts title defence as Zone Five event tips off

KPA’s Jemmimah Omondi (L) in action against Eagle wings during the KBF Women League match at the Nyayo National Gym on September 3, 2022. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

16-time time national women basketball champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) start their title defence as nine teams battle it out in the FIBA Africa Zone Five Women basketball Club Championship that tips off today at the National Stadium in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. 

The tournament that runs to October 1 will be used as a qualifier for the 2022 FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women. 

With the top team assured of a ticket to the FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Women, the seven day competition is expected to be competitive. 

South Sudan will be making its debut at the championship, which also has an Egyptian side. 

Kenyan clubs have dominated the championship over the years and KPA and Equity Bank Hawks are also favourites this year. 

KPA who lost to JKL Dolphins of Uganda in 2019 before the tournament took a break in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic are hoping to make it to their third finals in a row. 

“We arrived in Tanzania on Wednesday, ready to defend the title,” said KPA coach Anthony Ojukwu. 

The coach said he has assembled a strong team led by Captain Natalie Akinyi and youthful Medina Okot. 

Equity Bank head coach David Maina said he is looking forward to wrestling the title from KPA. 

“Our mission in Dar es Salaam is purely to win the title for the fourth year,” said the veteran coach. 

Southern Sudan representatives Nile Legends will be out to make their maiden appearance felt in the competition. 

Since joining the continental scene in 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya, the performance of South Sudan senior men’s team on the continental podium has been encouraging.