Kenya made a false start as Fiba Africa under 16 Zone Five basketball qualifiers, started at Makande Indoor Gymnasium, Mombasa on Friday night.
The local boys failed to match defending champions Rwanda’s dribbling and shooting skills while the girls were ruthlessly hammered by Egypt in the opening matches.
In boys tie, Rwanda remained on course to retaining the title after they led throughout the match to register a convincing 73-48 win over the Kenyans.
Rwanda led 6-0 in the first two minutes of play, but the home boys rallied from behind to narrow the gap to 8-5 as the score stood at 18-9 in favour of Rwanda in the first quarter.
Kenya’s inability in execution was wanting especially in the second quarter which saw the Rwandese take a 28-22 lead. The visitors extended the lead to 50-34 at the end of the third quarter before the final score of 73-48.
Upper Hill School’s form two student Paul Otieno was the top scorer for the Kenyan side with 14 points while Moses Oiguru and Abubakar Ali had four points each. Ngoga Elias top scored for the visitors with 12 points while Irmva Landry and Nkundwa Thierry had nine and eight points.
Kenya coach Shem Otieno said he did not have enough time to assemble a winning outfit. “We could have used the secondary schools term one games to select players, but this did not happen. Kenya Basketball Federation need to work on youth programs,” said Otieno.
His Rwanda counterpart Moise Mutokambali said he has been training his juniors for the past three months. “We used school games to come up with a strong team. Back in Rwanda, we take youth programs seriously,” said Mutokambali who also handles the senior teams.
In girls match against Egypt, the Kenyan girls who completely lacked basic basketball skills were hammered 92-23 by the Egyptians. [Ernest Ndunda]