Co-op Bank withdraws from Zone V qualifiers in Burundi

By francis marangu
Jul 31, 2013
  • Co-op bank in a past match with USIU. Co-op have withdrawn from the Zone V qualifiers.(Photo by SNA:File)

Kenya’s men champions Co-operative Bank has withdrawn from participating in the FIBA Africa Zone V Championships that will be staged in Bujumbura, Burundi from August 5-11.

This leaves United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, as the only representative for the country in the men category. The varsity side, taking part in the tourney by the virtue of finishing second in the league last season, left the country on Tuesday night by road.

Reliable sources within the club confirmed the development to Sportsnewsarena.com on Wednesday which means they will skip the event for the second year running.

Co-op Bank equally failed to participate in last year’s tournament in Uganda. It is understood that their sponsor, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, was reluctant to release funds for facilitating the tour which led to the cancellation of the trip at the eleventh hour.

“They were not ready to put up for the cost which they claimed was too high. We were kept completely in the darkness and only learnt of the development in a very unofficial way,” said the source who sought anonymity.

Their performance in the league of late has not been that promising which could have led to the sponsor opting out. H

owever, there seems to be more than meets the eye in the issue and according to the source; it is only a matter of time before things get worse.

“You saw what happened to Lions the other day?Their sponsor left yet it is known that they have other teams in football and rugby that get full financial support. Who knows, we might be next on the line.”

Four other clubs withdraw from Zone V 

Apart from Co-op Bank, four other clubs have already withdrawn from the tournament. Rwanda’s men side APR, Uganda’s UCU Lady Canons and Tanzania's ABC for men and Jeshi Stars for ladies have opted to take part in the EAC Military Games that will be held in Nairobi next week.

Meanwhile, USIU-A head coach David Maina regretted the development but believes that the bankers’ absence will only give them the morale to get positive results.

“This might be an advantage to us but only God knows. We feel no pressure as the sole representatives of the country.”

This being their debut in the tournament, Maina does not expect too much from his young side even though they would like to reach the peak.

“Qualifying for the knockout phase will be good for us because it is our first time and winning is a tall order. Nevertheless, we have not ruled out coming back with the trophy,” he said.

Captain Chris Mulumba leads the 12-man squad and will be deputized by Kevin Macharia. Mulumba, who is from DR Congo, and Sudan import Simon Mayien are the only foreign players in the team which is the maximum allowed per team by FIBA rules.

Victor Bosire, Yoni Wanambiro, Alvin Nyangweso and Neville Odhiambo are some of the experienced players expected to lead their assault in Bujumbura.

The 2013 edition will bring together fifteen clubs, eight for ladies and seven for men.

USIU-A Travelling Squad: Chris Mulumba (Captain), Kevin Macharia (Ass. Captain), Victor Bosire, Simon Mayien, David Sinda, Yoni Wanambiro, Alvin Nyangweso, Dan Omondi, Lionel Manyara, Harrison Kaudia, Mika Opinya, Neville Odhiambo; Head Coach- David Maina.