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Kenya Lioness ready to roar at women’s AfroBasket

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Washington Onyango | September 16th 2021
Victoria Reynolds of Kenya Lioness (right) in action against Egypt during the women's Afrobasket Zone V qualifiers in Rwanda. [Courtesy]

Kenya national women’s basketball team, Lioness, is confident of writing its own history when they jet out today to Yaoundé ahead of the 2021 women’s AfroBasket that begins on Saturday in Cameroon.

Despite missing the services of the influential Felmas Koranga, who led Kenya in Africa Zone V Championships in Rwanda, where she was voted the Best Power Forward, Vilma Achieng is unbowed ahead of the games.

Lioness head coach George Mayienga made two changes to the squad that won the Zone V championships, bringing in Ivy Opicho and Selina Okumu in place of Koranga and Cecilia Okumu.

Speaking to Standard Sports, Achieng said the team is in a good mood and are under no pressure.

“Our main focus is competing better than our predecessors,” said the Lioness power forward, referring to Kenya’s best performance at the championships in 1993 where they lost to Senegal in the final.

“I doubt if there is pressure but we would want to achieve more.”

The Lioness bagged the automatic Africa Zone V ticket by stunning Egypt 99-83 in the final in Kigali where Reynolds was named the Most Valuable Player.

Kenya’s last AfroBasket outing in Dakar in 2019 was a disaster as they failed to win any match, a show Achieng said they want to forget. The Kenya Ports Authority forward said they are drawing inspiration from their men counterparts, Kenya Morans, who narrowly missed qualifying for quarterfinals of the AfroBasket.

“It is true, we picked a lot of lessons from Morans’ form, but we must write our own history,” said Achieng.

Kenya are in pool A alongside Cameroon and Cape Verde. The Lioness will be led by Melisa Akinyi and Rose Ouma.

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