• Captain Griffin Ligare believes the availability of Tom Wamukota, Bungei and Awich as well as the hiring of coach Liz Mills in Cameroon will improve the teams' chances.
• He observed that the training picked up really well compared to the first week when they assembled for their first sessions.
Guards Joseph Khaemba and Victor Ochieng returned to the national team Morans as Kenya Basketball Federation unveiled a 13-man squad for the FIBA Africa AfroBasket qualifier in Yaounde, Cameroon.
France-based Joel Awich links up with the team for the first time and will accompany fellow diaspora-based players Preston Bungei and Tyler Ongwae (Denmark).
Victor Bosire and Faheem Juma, who did duty in Kigali, Rwanda, during the first leg of the qualifiers last year, miss out while Fidel Okoth will travel as a reserve.
Kenya hope to return to the continents biggest bonanza for the first time since 1993 and already have one foot in the championship with one win from last November’s first leg.
Kenya beat Mozambique 79-62 and needs to repeat that feat to be assured of a slot in the finals. However, they will also seek to better their performances against Senegal and Angola, to whom they lost 92-54 and 82-66 respectively.
Captain Griffin Ligare believes the availability of Tom Wamukota, Bungei and Awich as well as the hiring of coach Liz Mills in Cameroon will improve the team's chances.
“Considering that we will have Wamukota, Bungei and Awich as well as coach Mills in Cameroon, our chances are good,” he said.
He observed that the training picked up really well compared to the first week when they assembled for their first sessions.
Awich said: “I am honoured to have been selected and cannot wait to meet the team. I am looking forward to a great experience and the opportunity to wear national team colours as I represent my motherland Kenya in the qualifiers.”
Kenya start off their Group ‘B’ campaign with a match against the continents top-ranked team Senegal on Friday, tackle the tournament’s most successful side Angola on Saturday and finish against Mozambique a day later.
The top three teams from the five groups and the best fourth-placed side will qualify for the 30th edition of Africa’s premier basketball tournament slated for August 24 — September 5 also in Rwanda.
Kenya has featured in three championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire in 1985, in Luanda, Angola in 1989 and in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993.
The overall team of 20 leaves the country this morning under the stewardship of Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Secretary Ambrose Kisoi.
Guards: Griffin Ligare (Nairobi City Thunder), Erick Mutoro (Ulinzi Warriors), Joseph Khaemba (Ulinzi Warriors), Tylor Okari (Denmark), Preston Bungei (Denmark), Victor Ochieng (Equity Bank), Forwards: Valentine Nyakinda (Kenya Ports Authority), Ariel Okall (Qatar), Joel Awich (France); Centres: Ronnie Gundo (USA), Tom Wamukota (Rwanda) and Desmond Owili (Australia); Reserve Fidel Okoth (Strathmore University)