Following lengthy deliberations and availability of funds, the Kenya Basketball Federation has released the names of the squad players that will travel to the FIBA Africa Zone Five Championships to be played in Cairo, Egypt on March 12-18.
The women’s team coached by Equity Bank Hawks tactician David Maina has Kenya Ports Authority quartet of Natalie Akinyi, Yvonne Akinyi, Betty Kananu and Celine Okumu in the traveling squad.
They will be joined by Samba Mjomba, reigning league most valuable player Mercy Wanyama and captain Hilda Indasi all from league champions Equity Bank.
Georgia Adhiambo, a three-point specialist who plays for United States International University-Africa will be expected to run the offence during the championship. The shooting guard has played for the national team from the under-18 level.
“We are very much prepared for the competition and we are ready to restore the lost glory. The team has been working hard in training so it is just a matter of going out there and playing our best. We are confident of qualifying to the next stage,” Maina told SNA.
He said that his system will revolve around zoning out at the paint and encouraging three point shots. This is no surprise given that he has a variety of lethal shooters at his disposal.
Vilma Owino who is a star player for Ugandan Christian University is in the team to offer her defensive presence and rebounding ability as a power forward.
The team is set to depart on Saturday evening and may be forced to travel with 11 players instead of 12 with Lucy Machuma being on standby.
The men’s team is facing a similar predicament after KBF named an 11 member team.
This is due to the possibility of three professional players linking up with the rest of the team in Cairo. The trio of Valentine Nyakinda (Seychelles), towering centre Bush Wamukota (Kyrenia, Cyprus) and Tylor Okari (Sodertalje, Sweden) are expected to be in Egypt.
However, the squad may be match squad may be altered depending on their availability. Veteran guards Griffin Ligare (Nairobi City Thunder) and Evans Letting (KPA) are some of the top names to have made the cut.
On a surprising note, KPA’s point guard Tobias Onyango who was named the league most valuable player has been axed from the squad.
USIU-A big man Kevin Kigotho makes the cut while Eric Mutoro of 2015 league champions Ulinzi Warriors misses out. A big blow for coach Carey Odhiambo is the unavailability of Desmond Owili.
He opted out of selection in order to turn up for his new club Kilsyth Cobras (Australia) in their pre-season preparations.
Women: Natalie Akinyi (KPA), Samba Mjomba (Equity Bank), Betty Kananu (KPA), Yvonne Akinyi (KPA), Mercy Wanyama (Equity Bank), Hilda Indasi-Captain (Equity Bank), Purity Adhiambo (UCU,Uganda), Celine Okumu (KPA), Grace Wanjiku (JKL Dolphins, Uganda) Lucy Machuma (Eagle Wings), Velma Awino (UCU, Uganda), Georgia Adhiambo (USIU-A).
Head coach: David Maina, Anthony Ojukwu (Assistant).
Men: Evans Letting (KPA), Joseph Khaemba-Captain (Co-op Bank), Victor Bosire (KPA), Mike Makiadi (Power, Uganda), Griffins Ligare (Nairobi City Thunder), James Mwangi (Co-op Bank), Francis Ogolla (Falcons. Uganda), Kevin Kigotho (USIU-A), Frankline Omondi (Zetech), Phillip Ameny (Warriors, Uganda), Brian Namake (UCU,Uganda).
Head coach: Carey Odhiambo, Sammy Kiki (Assistant).