Kenya and Uganda renew basketball rivalry

By francis marangu
Jun 13, 2017
  • Nairobi Joseph Khaemba against Dar Erick John. They face Kampala today in a city rivalry. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

The Kenya-Uganda bitter rivalry in sports will be played out on Tuesday night when Africa City Challenge basketball tournament enters day three at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.

This time, it is not about the pride of national colours but a battle of the two countries’ capital cities.

Nairobi City Morans (Kenya) and Kampala Red Stars (Uganda) will play each other at 8 p.m. The game is expected to attract a huge turnout including Ugandans living in Nairobi.

Interestingly, three Kenyans will be turning out for the Ugandans by the virtue of playing for local clubs in Uganda.

Phillip Ameny (Pemba Warriors), Michael Makiadi (Betway Power) and Brian Namake (UCU Canons) will all line up for Kampala.

In the Kenyan team, head coach Ben Oluoch had a coaching stint in Uganda with StarTimes Falcons two years ago. He understands something about their playing culture.

Also, Arou Chan has previously played in the Ugandan league for City Oilers before joining Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

On Tuesday night, it will be a tight battle for both teams who will be looking for a second straight win. Nairobi has already beaten Dar es Salaam 87-71 while Uganda beat the Tanzanian side 99-42 on Monday night.

Dar es Salaam played out good defense in the last minute to deny Kampala a century score. The second straight loss for Dar es Salaam leaves them with a mountain to climb in the remaining fixtures.

Dar time out

Kampala won the first quarter 26-6 and raced to a quick 9-0 lead. Makiadi made a three-pointer, Jimmy Enabu added two baskets and Ameny made a basket to prompt Dar es Salaam into calling for their first timeout.

Kampala remained dominant in the second quarter to win 21-7 and had opened up a big lead of 34 points at halftime leading 47-13.

The Ugandans showed great teamwork in the first half.

By halftime, Steve Omony and Makiadi were leading in scoring with seven points each. Enabu, Ivan Lumanyika and Namake had scored six points each with Joseph Ikong, Ameny and Geoffrey Soro scoring four each.

Ulanga Sudi scored three while Mark Opio who played for 4:43 in the entire half did not score any points.

Kampala went up by 46 points in the third quarter at 67-21 and won 23-14 while their lead stretched to 59 points in the fourth quarter at 93-34. They won 29-15.

Lumanyika top scored for Kampala with 16 points and Makiadi added 15. Bryan Muramba, a Kenyan turning out for Dar es Salaam scored 10 points. Kampala scored 15 points from the three-point line against 12 for the Tanzanians.

Kenya’s Mombasa City Sharks lost 62-83 to Mogadishu City in their second game. The youthful Mogadishu team felt at home with big support from Somalis working and living in Kenya.

The fans were just passionate and happy to see their fellow countrymen who reside in America and Canada play at ‘home’.

Referees had to intervene at some point in the second half to get them out of the court. They had gone in numbers to take photographs with the players when a timeout was called clearly flouting the laid down rules.

Quick in transition play

Mogadishu looked sharp with every touch of the ball and were quick in their transition play. They featured Kenyan Ariel Okal who was a favorite of the crowd.

In the second quarter, Mombasa went down by 18 points at 12-30 but fought back to reduce the margin to four points at 35-39.

Zadock Odhiambo’s 12 points in the first half helped Mombasa to remain in contention as they trailed 35-43 at the breather.

Mogadishu won the first quarter 18-12 and they took a 3-0 lead from the three-point line. Mombasa rallied back to lead 7-6 before scores tied 9-9.

Mombasa then led for the second time 11-9 and Mogadishu regained the lead 12-11 from the three-point line. Mogadishu won the second quarter 25-23.

With four minutes played in the third quarter, the Somalis had restored their 18-point cushion leading 55-37 and pressed hard to win the quarter 20-15. They stretched to 21 points by the close of fourth quarter that they won 20-12.

Adnan Guled top scored for Mogadishu with 20 points while Mustafa Ali added 17. Zadock Odhiambo scored 16 points for Mombasa and Samuel Ocholla finished with 14.

Mogadishu will play their second game against Juba Bright Stars on Tuesday at 6 p.m.