Kenya national basketball women’s team head coach David Maina believes his team can deliver despite late preparations ahead of the FIBA Afro Basket Zone Five Qualifiers slated for March 12-18 in Cairo, Egypt.
Maina was speaking after a comprehensive training session with his team on Sunday at Safaricom Indoor Arena, Kasarani where he took 13 of the 14 players left in the side through vigorous shooting and positional plays exercises.
Maina, who led Equity Bank to their maiden title in February has since dropped seven players in the last two weeks and is expected to trim his squad to 12 in the next two days to determine the final team that will travel to the Egyptian capital for the qualifiers.
Those dropped include Rita Anyango, Beryl Okoth, Mollete Achieng and Berine Akoth. Felmas Adhiambo misses out after sustaining an injury while the Catherine Oloo has not turned up for training. Rose Ouma who is currently out of the country was not considered.
“We did not start our training in good time and we have had only two weeks of training and I want to believe that other countries have been training for even two months which gives them an upper hand.
However, with that being a factor, it will not be a reason why we will fail to progress. I have also told the team that we are not going to look for excuses and we have to go there and play hard because it will be a difficult competition,” Maina stated.
Vast coaching experience
The ever confident coach has refused to be drawn into the constraints that have hampered previous national teams and is firm on his stance on believing in the players that he has. According to him, his vast coaching experience in the local league has been an asset in knowing his players.
“Kenya’s chances are very high as usual because we have been doing very well in previous editions. The good thing is I trust the ladies because these are players I have seen in different teams as a coach in the league. I know what they are capable of doing on the court so that is one thing that has given me the confidence that we will make it to the next round,” he concluded.
The winners of the qualifiers will book a slot to compete in the FIBA Africa Championships to be held on August 10-30 in Brazzaville, Congo. Kenya lost to bitter rivals Uganda in the 2015 qualifiers.
The last time Kenya took part in the continental showpiece was in 2013.
Current squad: Natalie Akinyi, Susan Manya, Samba Mjomba, Hilda Indasi, Grace Wanjiku, Betty Kananu, Celine Okumu, Lucy Machuma, Georgia Odhiambo, Belinda Okoth, Mercy Wanyama, Purity Odhiambo, Vilma Owino, Yvonne Akinyi.
Dropped: Rita Anyango, Beryl Okoth, Mollete Achieng and Berine Akoth, Felmas Adhiambo, Catherine Oloo, Rose Ouma.
Head coach: David Maina; Assistant: Anthony Ojukwu.