Kenyan women and men’s basketball teams lost ground in their quest for glory as they both lost in their respective Afro Basket Zone Five qualifiers played in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday evening.
After an impressive 70-41 demolition against neighbours Uganda in their opening match, Kenya women’s team found the going tough against hosts Egypt when they went down 62-87 in the crucial encounter.
The Egyptians, cheered on by a huge home crowd made their intentions clear with an early 26-11 lead in the first quarter.
Kenya’s coach David Maina decided to shake up his offence by bringing in Georgia Adhiambo who played just five and a half minutes against Uganda.
The guard had an average shooting night, only managing a mere 40% shot conversion rate. She sunk two three pointers from five attempts from beyond the arc.
Kenya improved and won the second quarter 23-21 but still trailed 34-47 at the break. Egypt regained momentum and took the third quarter 17-14 for a 64-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The ruthless hosts kept firing to outscore Kenya 23-14 in the fourth quarter which sealed the important win.
Kenya Ports Authority’s Natalie Akinyi was again on the top scorers list. The point guard finished the game with 13 points with six of those coming from two three pointers. Akinyi also had two rebounds and two assists.
Mercy Wanyama showed good ball retention capability with nine rebounds to go complement her eight points.
Mjomba recovered from dismal performance
Samba Mjomba recovered from a dismal performance against Uganda to be the cornerstone of how the offence was set up. Mjomba had 11 points, five assists and three rebounds.
Egypt’s Reem Osama was the highest scorer with with 23 points, five rebounds, two steals and three assists. Raneem Elgedawy added 10 points and nine rebounds.
The win took Egypt to the summit of the women’s division with four points. Kenya is second with three points ahead of Uganda that has two points.
The absence of Somalia has changed the structure in this division with teams now battling out in a double round robin format.
In the men’s category, Kenya remains winless after a humbling 66-68 loss to debutants South Sudan. This was their second loss of the campaign after a crushing 60-76 defeat at the hands of Rwanda.
They will face Egypt in a tough match on Wednesday as their qualification hopes faded after the latest result.
In this match, point guard Griffin Ligare had had 17 points, three rebounds and two assists. Francis Ogola finished with 12 points, three rebounds and one steal. Victor Bosire contributed 11 points and an assist to the total tally.
Mathiang Muo topped the scoring charts for South Sudan with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Teammate Chier Ater also had a good game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the victors.
Results (Tuesday) Men: Somalia 83 Burundi 96, South Sudan 68 Kenya 66, Egypt 83 Rwanda 71; Women: Kenya 62 Egypt 87.
Fixtures (Wednesday)-In Kenyan time
Men: South Sudan v Rwanda (3.45 p.m.), Uganda v Burundi (6 p.m.), Egypt v Kenya (10.15 p.m.).