•Morans jetted out Sunday morning for a four-team tournament that tips off at the Kigali Arena on Wednesday.
• A second qualifying window is set for February at a venue yet to be named. The top three teams will book their tickets to the 16-team championships also slated for Kigali.
Kenya Morans are good enough to secure a top spot in the Fiba Africa AfroBasket 2021 Group D qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda, coach Cliff Owuor has disclosed.
Owuor said his focus is to reinstate Kenya to the continent’s top basketball bonanza for the first time in 27 years and he believes he has the kind of players to do the job.
“This team is fine. They are in very good shape,” Owuor said on Saturday after his last training session with the boys at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.
“I am well aware of the task ahead. My target is to finish top in the group and to achieve this, I will rely on speed and balance in the squad.”
Morans jetted out on Sunday morning for the four-team tournament that tips off at the Kigali Arena on Wednesday. They will face off with Senegal, Angola and Mozambique.
A second qualifying window is set for February at a venue yet to be named. The top three teams will book their tickets to the 16-team championships also slated for Kigali.
Owuor opened his training over a month ago but ran his sessions mostly with his local-based players He has six foreign-based players with three arriving in the last week of training.
The diaspora players — Tyler Okari (Denmark), Preston Bungei and Desmnd Owili (Australia), Ronnie Gundo (USA), Ariel Okal (Algeria) and Tom Wamukota (Rwanda) will all have key roles to play.
The tacticians plans to go big with Okari, Valentine Nyakinda and debutant Preston Bungei at the backcourt with Wamukota and Desmond Owili manning the front.
“I am not really worried about the pedigree of the Senegal team but a win against them in the opener will give my boys a lot of confidence to tackle Angola and Mozambique in our next matches.” He confided.
In the absence of playmaker Griffin Ligare, who was unable to make the trip, Owuor named the tireless Eric Mutoro as the team captain.
“We will miss him and his contributions. He has been our leader on the floor for a long time. But we have a duty to perform and we will do our best,” observed Mutoro.
Owili chipped in: “We have trained well. We have the quality to qualify”.
Kenya start off their campaign against the continents top-ranked team, Senegal, they tackle the tournaments most successful side, Angola on Thursday and finish against Mozambique a day later.
Kenya have been to three championships, in 1985 in Cote d’Ivoire, 1990 in Luanda, Angola where they were placed last and in Nairobi in 1993 where they finished fourth.
The Kenyan contingent, headed by Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) treasurer Peter Orero also includes Tony Denda (Team Doctor) and Erastus Wainaina (Team Physiotherapist).
Players – Eric Mutoro (captain), Victor Odendo, Victor Bosire, Faheem Juma, Valentine Nyakinda, Fidel Okoth, Preston Bungei, Ariel Okal, Desmond Owili and Ronnie Gundo.
Tyler Okari flies out today while Wamukota will join the team in Kigali.