•Kenya lost 98-58 to top-ranked Senegal in an AfroBasket tie in 1993
•Kenya Morans hoping to avenge this loss in Wednesday's Fiba AfroBasket 2021 qualifying opener in Kigali, Rwanda
•Sixteen teams are set to line up for the AfroBasket 2021 Championships in Rwanda
Kenya Morans will have revenge on their minds when they face African giants Senegal in the Fiba AfroBasket 2021 qualifying opener at the Kigali Arena, Rwanda on Wednesday.
Senegal beat Kenya 98-58 in Morans' last appearance at the continental tournament in 1993.
Defensive ace Victor 'Jet' Odendo, who guided the team to a silver medal at last year’s AfroCan tournament in Bamako, Mali, warned the Senegalese that the current crop of players are no pushovers.
"Senegal have some players in the NBA, but they should bring their game and not their big names. All these teams in our group had their time and I guess it is our turn to rule Africa," Odendo said.
His teammate, Fidel 'Fathee' Okoth, was equally exuberant about the Morans' chances against the West Africans.
"Our opponents have been here before so they are more experienced but this team is about to make a difference. Our chances of progressing to the main event look quite promising because this group has improved tremendously over the years," Okoth, 24, the youngest member of the squad, said.
Although the assignment appears 'Mission Impossible' on paper, point-guard Victor Bosire pointed out that they would give 100 per cent in the tie.
"Our expectation is to win all the three games and qualify and wait for the second round in February. Our chances are 100 per cent if we play to our expectations. We have a good squad with the inclusion of enough pro players," he said.
If the Morans are to pull off a surprise, they will have to do it without their inspirational captain Griffin 'Kenya One' Ligare.
His deputy, Eric 'Jordo' Mutoro and Bosire are expected to fill his backcourt void.
“His absence in the team has left a gap. We started this journey with him and now he is not here. We will miss him and the points he puts on the board. But we will dig in,” Mutoro said.
But Bosire was more positive with his assessment, saying Ligare's absence will be an added inspiration to the team.
"Of course we will miss Griffin the squad and his input. But it is time to do it for him and give him an AfroBasket opportunity since it’s a collective dream," he said.
Morans squeezed a narrow 68-66 victory over South Sudan in a friendly game on Tuesday morning. The Kenyans did it without key players in Tyler Okari, Preston Bungei and Tom Wamukota.
Mutoro said: " We executed our plays well and our defence was okay."