Teams gear up for Madaraka Day tournament
By Erick Ochieng’
After the standoff between Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) officials and team managers was solved to pave way for the kick-off of the league, teams are now gearing up for tournaments.
The Meru Annual Madaraka Day Basketball tournament to be held between May 30 and 31 at the Kenya Methodist University (Kemu) in Meru has attracted 34 teams, mainly from the KBF league.
Sixty teams will be battling for cash prizes put in place by Sports Stadia Management Board, Kemu and other sponsors.
Winners in women’s and men’s categories will walk away with Sh40,000 and a trophy. Runners-up, third and fourth-placed finishers will be awarded Sh30,000, Sh20,000 and Sh10,000.
The winner in the schools’ category stands to win Sh15,000, while runners-up will pocket Sh10,000. The third and fourth teams in the category will carry home Sh7,000 and Sh5,000.
The huge turnout is in contrast to Menengai tournament held two weeks ago and skipped by most clubs. Last week, KBF promised to make necessary changes in the league and its tournaments.
"We have realised we need to change the way things are done and we will consider including motivating factors in our tournaments," the association’s chairman Paul Otula said last week.
KBF eastern branch secretary, Ambrose Kisoi, who is in the organising team, pointed out the forthcoming tournament in Meru as a learning forum for teams playing in the Premier League, Division One and secondary schools.
"The event is meant to create behaviour change and to tap young talent in the eastern region. We have so far established the Eastern Queens who are playing in the women’s Premier League," he said.
The tournament has witnessed increased turnout since 2006 following partnership between Mount Kenya East Basketball Association and KBF.
In 2007, it drew teams from across the country, with players from the Gulf region participating last year. Lakers are the men’s titleholders while Strathmore University’s Desire are women’s defending champions.
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