•Gaya yesterday remained optimistic that with the calibre of players in his squad, they will secure the ticket to the 30th continental championships slated for Kigali
•“We have studied videos against our opponent Senegal and also analysed the scouting reports. Now it is time for execution and we will get the results we want.”—Gaya
Kenya Morans are upbeat as they take on Senegal in their Group ‘B’ of the FIBA-Africa Afro-Basket 2021 qualifier in Yaounde, Cameroon today.
Assistant coach Sadat Gaya yesterday remained optimistic that with the calibre of players in his squad, they will secure the ticket to the 30th continental championships slated for Kigali, Rwanda from August 24 to September 5.
Gaya observed that game fitness is key and Morans' boost—Tylor Ongwae, Preston Bungei and Joel Awich—who have been playing competitive basketball in Europe as late as last week.
“The team chemistry the players are developing is good since everybody is on the same page,” he noted. “Our focus is execution on both ends of the floor. We have the best team I have ever coached.”
He went on: “We have studied videos against our opponents Senegal and also analysed the scouting reports. Now it is time for execution and we will get the results we want.”
Gaya noted that the team has an amazing depth that is maybe as stronger than the starting five. “There is a lot of flexibility in all positions as well— from guards to centre,” he added.
“We can play big or fast. We have multiple ball handlers and shooters in the team. One of our strengths is having players who can play in multiple positions,” he said.
Kenya have a good chance of securing a ticket to their fourth continental championship as one of the 16 teams but they must post at least a win against their three opponents.
Morans are 1-2 having beaten Mozambique 79-62 in the last window in Kigali, Rwanda in November and lost 92-54 to Senegal and 88-62 to Angola. Gaya said they hope to improve on the results.
Sixteen teams from five groups will qualify for the 30th Africa Championships slated for Kigali from August 24 to September 5.
The squad that will return to the Africa championship for the first time in 28 years include Griffin Ligare, Eric Mutoro, Victor Ochieng, Joseph Khaemba, Tyler Okari and Preston Bungei at the back court. Others are—Ariel Okal, Valentine Nyakinda, Ronny Gundo, Joel Awich, Bush Wamukota and Desmond Owili (front court). Bungei, Wamukota and Awich missed out on the last assignment and their contributions this time round would be immense for Morans.
Bungei was a disappointed man since FIBA did not clear him to play having travelled from Australia to join the team. He moved to Denmark and this time round, he will have to show his mettle.
Captain Ligare said: “We missed the duo in our last games and with them, things can only get better. Besides, we also have the inclusion of coach Liz Mills to the technical bench.”
Group leaders Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Egypt, who won all their three games are a sure bet to progress.