Okall upbeat Kenya will qualify for the 2021 AfroBasket after 27 year wait
BASKETBALL By Washington Onyango | November 13th 2020
Kenya Morans star Ariel Okall is confident that Kenya will qualify for the 2021 AfroBasket.
The Algeria-based forward who joined his fellow teammates for national team training at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium last week said they are upbeat of ending Kenya’s 27-year absence at the men's basketball continental championship of Africa.
Kenya is set to battle former champions Angola, Senegal and Mozambique in Group ‘B’ showdown at the Kigali Arena from November 24th in the AfroBasket Qualifiers to be held in Rwanda.
Speaking to the Standard Sports, Okall said they will be ready to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses despite their quality.
“The mood at the camp is jovial and hyped as usual. There is a sense of urgency in camp as the guys are prepared for the showdown in Kigali with our inspiration coming from last year’s AfroCan performances,” he said.
“Even though our opponents are ahead of us as per the FIBA, we know what we need to do and the areas we need to prepare to counter their strengths. We believe we have a chance against all our opponents. ”
Okal, who plays for Union Sportive Setif in Algeria, was the first diaspora player to arrive home as Morans prepare for the Fiba Afro-Basket qualifiers before he was joined by Australia-based Kenyan star forward Preston Bungei.
The Morans overcame a resilient South Sudan in the finals of the pre-qualification games last year at the Nyayo Stadium gymnasium to make it to the qualifiers.
Okall said they are hoping to replicate that form when they on Angola, Mozambique, and Senegal in Group B of the qualifiers.
“We already have the core of the team intact and there is chemistry already when we play scrimmages. Building from our past performances will be key and I believe we will qualify for the 2021 championship,” he said.
The top three teams from the qualification journey will qualify for the Afrobasket Championship that will be held in Kigali next year.
Kenya last featured at the FIBA AfroBasket Finals in 1993 when Nairobi hosted the event and Morans will be aiming for a long return to the continent’s top basketball festival.
Erick Mutoro, Victor Bosire, James Mwangi, Joseph Khaemba (Ulinzi Warriors), captain Griffin Ligare,Faheem Juma (Nairobi City Thunder), Victor Odendo, Valentine Nyakinda (Kenya Ports Authority), Fidel Okoth (Strathmore Blades) and Victor Ochieng (Equity Bank).
Others are: Okari, Okal- (US Setif Algeria), Awich (Dax Gamarde France) , Bungei- HKK Capljina Bosnia, Owili (Kilsyth Cobras , Australia) , Gaundo (USA) and Wamukota ( Patriots Rwanda).
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