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Kenya Morans chase vital victory in 2021 FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers last tie

BASKETBALL By Elizabeth Mburugu | November 27th 2020
The national men basketball team Morans training at Nyayo stadium on November 12, 2020 ahead of the upcoming Afrobasket qualifiers set to take place in Kigali, Rwanda from 25th to 29th November 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenya Morans will today lock horns with Mozambique in their last first-round match of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Kenyan boys, who have been distressed since arriving in Kigali, will be looking to put their troubles behind them and seal their only win in the qualifiers after losing to Senegal and Angola.

Victory against Mozambique will revive Kenya’s hopes of returning to Africa’s top men’s basketball contest since 1993.

Morans' trip to Rwanda has not been rosy as they suffered setbacks which might have destroyed their game plan.

However, with the second round qualifying matches set for February next year, Kenyans still have a chance to secure a slot to the 30th edition of the biennial event set for the same venue.

Morans' coach Cliff Owuor will expect nothing short of his charges firing from all cylinders to ensure they renew hopes of finishing third in the group.

Even though Owuor and his charges missed their target of two victories, they will be looking to rise to the occasion today and chalk that vital win.

Yesterday, Morans showed some improvement by putting up a spirited fight against 11-time champions Angola in their second tie.

Tylor Ongwae, who is so far the most impressive player on the Kenyan side, starred with 18 points same as captain Erick Mutoro, who turned up for the job after a dismal show against Senegal.

The national men basketball Morans Valentine Nyakinda (L) and Fidel Okoth during evening training season at Nyayo stadium on November 12, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Even though Morans lost 83-66, they played better than they did against the Senegalese.

Olimpio Cipriano led Angola with 17 points. Unlike their opening match where they crumbled in the last quarter scoring just one basket against Senegal’s 34 points, Morans fought the Angolans and were seemingly energetic to the final buzzer.

Despite the loss, coach Owuor said they picked some vital lessons.

“I credit the boys because unlike our opening game, there were positives from this game. They played well and were able to reduce the difference from 30 to 17 points, which is commendable,” Owuor said.

He added that they were determined to defeat Mozambique.

“We are not where we would have wished to be. We struggled in defence against Senegal but we improved in the second match and I believe we will play better against Mozambique and win.”

His sentiments were echoed by Mutoro, who said they are still focused on qualifying. 

 

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