Kenyans feel the heat in Angola: Teams begin tourney on wrong footing

Equity Bank's "Hawk" Rose Apondi (left) and Nathalie Akinyi of KPA fight for ball possession in-search of Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League champion on Monday night, Feb 13, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

And unlucky Zetech University falter in play-offs at home.

Kenya’s representatives at the 2017 Fiba Africa Women’s Club Championships in Luanda, Angola, have found themselves on the receiving end.

Africa Zone V Champions, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) women’s Premier League champions, Equity Bank, are yet to win a match in the high-profile tournament that started on Saturday night.

Both sides have suffered heavy defeats in the round-robin group stages. Hosts Club Desportivo De Agosto thrashed KPA 75-43 in a one-sided encounter during the opening pool B match on Sunday night.

The defeat confirmed the hosts' dominance over the dockers, who they defeated with an almost similar score in last year's championships in Maputo, Mozambique.

The hosts are two-time champions (2006 and 2015) and the win set their eyes on this year’s title.

Anthony Ojukwu, KPA head coach, said he had noted their weak areas during the match and would make sure they didn't repeat the same mistakes in their next encounter this evening (Tuesday) against Daring Club Motema Pembe of Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We are not sure of Motema Pembe’s kind of play, but we have the basics to win that match," said Ojukwu.

"We will tighten our defence as much as possible and ward off our opponents. We cannot afford to play as we did in our last match."

Likewise, debutantes Equity have so far lost two matches in the championships. They lost 62-43 to two-time champions, First Bank of Nigeria, in their opening game on Saturday.

Head coach David Maina had high hopes of turning the tables against Groupement Sportif des Petroliers of Algeria in their second encounter on Sunday night, but this was not to be as the Algerians held their grip to win 59-32.

“We have not lost here; we are in a learning process. The matches we have played so far have given us some experience and shown us what not to do in our next encounter,” said Maina.

Equity had an uphill task last night as they prepared to tackle hosts and defending champions Inter Clube of Angola in a contest that was scheduled to begin at 11pm.

Inter Clube, five-time champions, won the tournament in Mozambique last year after beating hosts Ferroviario de Maputo 67-49 in the final.

Back at home, Zetech University had an unlucky start in the KBF women’s Premier League play-offs that began over the weekend at Strathmore University in Nairobi.

Zetech lost 44-43 to Co-operative Bank in Game One. The bankers led 17-16 at half time.

Despite the loss, Cynthia Mawero still gave the students a game high 14 points, while teammate Lucy Mbithe had 10. The bankers had 13 from Everlyn Itabu and 11 from Florence Mbithe.

“We still have high hopes of winning our next matches. This is a Game Three series, which gives us some hope," said Zetech coach Job Munene.

"We have big dreams this season, which include winning this year’s league."

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And unlucky Zetech University falter in play-offs at home.