Women basketball Premier League: KPA off to Tanzania for Africa Zone Five tourney

KPA’s Carol Onyango in action against Eagle wings during the KBF Women League match at the Nyayo National Gym on September 3, 2022. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

New signings Jemimah Omondi and Linda Alando have been drafted in the final squad as national women basketball Premier League champions Kenya Ports authority (KPA) depart today for to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for the Africa Zone Five club championship. 

The championship is scheduled to throw off on September 26 to October 1 where the finalists will qualify for the final tour of the Cup slated for Mozambique from December 9-18. 

The team concluded its training on Monday evening at Makande indoor gymnasium ready for their today’s journey by road to Dar es Salaam. 

Shooting guard Jemimah and centre Alando joined the Porters from Storms and rivals Equity bank this season and their inclusion in the 13-team squad is a major boost to coach Anthony Ojukwu. 

“We have been training for the past three weeks and we are ready to defend the title we won last year,” Ojukwu said. 

“As defending champions, all the participating teams from the nine countries will be fighting to wrestle the title from us but we shall play as true champions to retain the title. 

“We have a good team with good players and now we only need to prepare better and ensure tactically and physically we are in good condition. I have been polishing both the defensive and offensive departments and were are set to go,” Ojukwu said. 

KPA are the zone five defending champions after they beat Equity Hawks 71-35 in the deciding match of the 2021 championships in Tanzania. 

Kenyan clubs have been dominating the championships but Equity surrendered the title to Uganda’s JKL Dolphins in 2019 before KPA recaptured it last year. The championship was not held in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic. 

Team Captain Natalie Akinyi said they are set for the title defence. “We have a very strong defence, which is the engine of any good team. The cup is coming back home in Kenya,” Akinyi said. 

She said they are enjoying good run in the team where they are yet to lose a game. 

“Our current form is an added advantage and we shall carry it to Tanzania to retain the title for the second year running,” added Akinyi. 

Towering and youthful Okot who is fresh from representing the country in the 3x3 world championships qualifiers in Romania has also been included in the team. 

The other Kenyan team Equity Bank under head coach David Maina started their residential camp in Nairobi last Sunday and expected to jet out to Dar es Salaam later this week.

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