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Morans eye good show in second round

BASKETBALL By Elizabeth Mburugu | November 29th 2020
Ariel Okal jumps high during the unveiling of Morans team at Nyayo National stadium. Nov 7, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

After bouncing back from two straight losses to beat Mozambique 79-62 in their last Group B match of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket Qualifiers, Kenya Morans are now looking forward to sealing a ticket to the 2021 AfroBasket Championships in February.

The championships will also be played in Kigali, Rwanda the same venue of the qualifiers, however, the venue of the second round of the qualifiers is yet to be determined.

Morans Coach Cliff Owour said they will now go back to the drawing board with the hopes of being more prepared for the second round qualifiers.

“We had setbacks in Rwanda when some our players were not cleared to play, but we will work on that and ensure that we don’t have to go through the same again”  Owour said. 

He added that despite missing their target which was to win two matches in Kigali, the victory against Mozambique renewed their hopes.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and of course the lessons we learned in Kigali will form the basis of the areas we need to improve on going into the final round.”

Kenya had it rough in Kigali after the team was left without two players and Owuor had to play three matches with 10 men.

Captain Griffin Ligare had to shelve his work commitments to travel to Kigali on short notice to beef up the squad after Tom Wamukota failed to make it Kigali after being quarantined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Morans' Preston Bungei  [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

However, it was the failed clearance of Preston Bungei by FIBA AfroBasket organisers that shocked Kenyans. 

Bungei, born of a Kenyan father from Kapsabet and American mother was set to make his international debut for Kenya but a passport hitch so him fail to do so.

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Ligare who would only play the last match for Kenya after being cleared due to the Covid-19 protocols said that his first task was to hold the team together.

“I travelled on short notice and with the situation we were in I knew that my first and most important job would be to bring the team together and restore their confidence.”

Ligare’s presence did indeed have an impact to the team as he rallied them to their only win of the first round and a third spot in the group.

Senegal and Angola who beat Kenya in their first and second ties are first and second with six and five points respectively. Kenya have four while bottom placed Mozambique have three.  

Denmark based Tylor Ongwae was the most impressive player on the Kenyan side leading the scores in all the matches. 

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