Kenya Morans gear up for AfroBasket Qualifiers
BASKETBALL By Elizabeth Mburugu | November 8th 2020
Joel Awich and Preston Bungei are expected to add foreign flair to the Kenya Morans squad that is currently preparing for the 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers set for November 25-27 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The duo are set to make national team debut for Kenya having accepted their call ups to beef up Morans as they seek to return to the continental scene where they featured last in 1993.
Awich and Bungei who ply their trades in France and Australia respectively are among foreign-based players that are expected to jet into the country and team up with their local counterparts in preparation for the Group B first round matches.
Morans head coach Cliff Owour exuded confidence saying even though they face a daunting task, they will be going into the championship with a positive attitude.
“This task requires commitment from each one of us because the circumstances are different due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The players have been responding well in training and with their positive attitude I believe that they will give their best both in training and during the championships,” Owuor said.
Other international players that are expected to join camp in coming days are Ronnie Gombe, Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota, Desmond Owili and Tyler Ongwae.
Morans captain Griffin Ligare, vice captain Erick Mutoro, Algeria based Ariel Okal, Valentine Nyakinda and Faheem Juma are among players who are in training.
Morans beat South Sudan 74-68 in pre-qualifiers staged at Nyayo Stadium in January this year to inch closer to their return to the continental event after 27 years in the cold.
The Kenyan boys face an uphill task in Group B where they will be up against giants Angola, Senegal and Mozambique.
They launch their quest against Senegal on Day One of the three-day first round qualifier before facing Angola and Mozambique on the second and third day respectively.
A good show in Kigali will set Morans on the way to the 2021 AfroBasket challenge set for the same venue ahead of the second round set for February at an undisclosed venue.
Morans who were initially set to travel to Dakar, Senegal for their Group B qualifier will be among 12 nations in the Kigali bubble owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rwanda will host Groups A which consists of Tunisia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar.
Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea will battle it out in Group C while Africa’s top basketball nation Nigeria will face off with their hosts Rwanda, Mali and Algeria.
Egypt will host Morocco, Uganda and Cape Verde.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Basketball Federation has appointed a national team management board whose mandate is to run the affairs of both Morans and the women’s team Lionesses. The board will be chaired by Thomas Kwaka who is also known as Big Ted.
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