Kenyans all set

Kenya arrive in Dakar in readiness for Women’s Afro-Basket 2019

In Summary

•Instead of two players, Owino was forced to drop Natalie Akinyi, Becky Nkatha, Melissa Akinyi and Salma Akinyi due to unavailability of tickets.

•Kenya Ports Authority guard Hilda Indasi will captain the side.

 

Hilda Indasi rounds up Hellen Oketch in a previous league match
Hilda Indasi rounds up Hellen Oketch in a previous league match
Image: FILE

KENYA Lionesses are eyeing top-six finish as the FIBA Women’s Afro-Basket 2019 tips off today in Dakar, Senegal.

Unperturbed by the developments that saw only 10 out of 12 players make the cut, head coach Ronny Owino said those available will do the job.

The long-serving tactician confirmed the team arrived safely in Dakar on Thursday all set. Kenya Ports Authority guard Hilda Indasi will captain the side.

Instead of two players, Owino was forced to drop Natalie Akinyi, Becky Nkatha, Melissa Akinyi and Salma Akinyi due to unavailability of tickets.

“The federation managed to get only ten tickets and that forced me to drop two players. We have a 10-team roster which is tricky,” he said.

“This will force me to use four post players instead of six. Team rotation will be a little difficult but that is the situation.”

The Lionesses is making a return to a venue that saw them make history 26 years ago by reaching their first finals. They lost to the host but were the sole continental representative in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 1994 in Australia. Kenya featured at their last Afro-Basket in 2013 in Mozambique finishing tenth. At stake is a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Mercy Wanyama, Vilma Achieng, Belinda Okoth and Silalei Shani will have to do the toughest job by scoring and rebounding. “Our objective would be to be in the top six teams this year and improve our tenth position finish in 2013,” explained Owino. 

Kenya starts their Group ‘D’ matches with a fixture against the 2017 bronze medalists Mozambique today. They meet Cape Verde tomorrow. In their 2013 meeting in Maputo, Kenya beat Cape Verde 64-63 in their first meeting before going down 63-41 in the classification game.