KPA eye good show as they return to Basketball Africa League qualifiers

KPA's Ulinzi Warriors' during game five of the KBF Premier League playoff match at Nyayo National stadium on Monday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya’s men basketball champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) are set to bolster their squad as they prepare to make a return to the Basketball Africa League (BAL) where they are scheduled to travel to Antananarivo, Madagascar for the first round qualifiers. 

KPA will be Kenya’s sole representatives at the African elite league qualifiers by virtue of having won the 2021/2022 national league. 

The team under coach Sammy Kiki has started non-residential training in Mombasa and Nairobi. 

“Players have started training differently with those in Nairobi and Mombasa holding different training sessions before they assemble in Mombasa on Saturday for a one-week residential camp before flying out,” said the team’s manager Christopher Ogut. 

Ogut said the team is scheduled to jet out on October 16 ahead of the qualifiers that runs from October 18 to 23. The dockers, who will be making their second return after 2019 when they made their debut at the inaugural event, made it to the second round but failed to advance to the African league. In their first appearance, the dockers emerged top in the first round held in Madagascar. They, however, failed to qualify for the BAL finals after forfeiting their first match in the second round. The team traveled by road from Mombasa to Kigali, Rwanda but missed their opening match due to lateness. 

KPA are drawn in group D together with hosts COSPN, Djabal Basket of Comoros Islands, Zimbabwe’s Foxes Basketball Club, Dekeddaha Sports Club (Somalia) and Mauritius’s Roche Bois Warriors. 

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the second round to be played in December. 

The top three teams from the second round will automatically qualify for the main league of 12 elite teams to play in the BAL league, Africa’s top men’s basketball league. 

Kiki said the rules of the league allows teams to beef up their squads with two African players and the same number of players outside the continent. 

As a result, Kiki said he will bolster his squad with at least two quality players with an eye of advancing to the second round and the main elite league. 

“KPA is looking forward to becoming the first Kenyan team to play in the main competition. We are ready for the challenge ahead,” said the former Kenyan international. 

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