• Ambrose Kisoi, the KBF assistant secretary revealed that the pandemic, which struck the country in March last year, was a major blow for the basketball fraternity.
•“Teams have suffered after staying for a whole year without action. The year was only positive for Morans but resources and better preparations need to be put in place for the next round of the qualifiers,” said Wesonga.
Despite Kenya Morans posting encouraging results in international championships, Kenya Basketball Federation feels the 2020 season was a lost year.
Morans hosted the Fiba AfroBasket pre-qualifiers at Nyayo Stadium, which they won and the qualifying tournament in Kigali, Rwanda, where they won one of their three fixtures.
The Nairobi festival saw Morans beat all five opponents — Burundi 101-83, Eritrea 112-64, Somalia 102-77, South Sudan 74-68 and Tanzania 95-59.
In Kigali, Kenya fell 92-54 to Senegal, went down 88-62 to Angola before turning the tables with a 79-62 victory over Mozambique. The second window of the qualifiers is set for February.
Save for these international engagements for the men’s team, nothing else went to plans, including the scheduled national elections, which are now set to go down this month.
Ambrose Kisoi, the KBF assistant secretary revealed that the pandemic, which struck the country in March last year, was a major blow for the basketball fraternity.
“We were happy that the men’s team had some activities but, overall, the suspension of our leagues disoriented the basketball fraternity,” he disclosed.
“The elections were also postponed and so the desire for the stakeholders to renew the mandate of the office bearers was also a big miss. Besides, many members lost jobs and means of livelihood.”
But all in all, he said, everyone was happy that people took care of themselves and there were no serious incidents to report about.
Former KBF chairman and Fiba Commissioner Agina Wesonga also noted that 2020 was a year to forget but observed they had learnt their lessons and are ready to start the new year with enthusiasm, with or without Covid-19.
“Teams have suffered after staying for a whole year without action. The year was only positive for Morans but resources and better preparations need to be put in place for the next round of the qualifiers,” said Wesonga.
“We have seen that bringing home diaspora players can improve our standings in Africa but documentation of the players should be given the seriousness it deserves.”
France-based professional Joel Awich was invited to join the national team camp by coach Cliff Owuor could not make it for the AfroBasket qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda, due to documentation hitches.
“I cheered Morans from my base in France and my goal is to join the team in the next round of qualifiers in February,”
Nairobi Basketball Federation (NBA) chairman Ronny Owino noted that there was progress in the way the Morans played but the biggest challenge for the players was that there were no ongoing leagues, which would have helped in ensuring the players were fit enough and match-ready.
Strathmore coach Tony Ochieng, who had predicted an improved performance from his well-equipped side, added: “The year has been lost for obvious reasons and hopefully we shall pick up when the new season kicks off. My players have been playing in some tournaments to keep them busy and others have been doing personalised training.”
“We are, however, proud of Morans performance and I believe if the team is prepared well and some professional players roped in, then we can have good results.”
KBF had released the league programme eight days before the estimated start to the season on March 15 but, unfortunately, the country reported the first Covid-19 positive case on March 12, followed by containment measures that threw almost off-balance, including sporting activities.
From then on, it was as clear as broad daylight that the sporting world was in for some long, lonely days. Sports federations, local and international, called off one activity after the other as the pandemic spread like wildfire globally.
Everyone kept the faith while remaining hopeful that everything will be back to normal but it turned out nothing was forthcoming.
With some sporting activities already planned for the new year, there is light at the end of the tunnel, especially after the government gave the green light for some activities to go on even though under strict Coiv-19 protocols.
For KBF, the belated national elections are top on their agenda.
But numerous questions still linger — even with the wave of optimism that has swept the country — especially after the number of positive Covid-19 cases continue to drop significantly.
Who will be in charge at KBF when the league starts, probably next month and will there be enough time for the league to go the full distance uninterrupted? How different will be Morans’ preparations for the second leg of the Fiba AfroBasket qualifiers set for next month?