30 July 2014

RWANDA : Mutokambali Eyes Zone V Afro-Basket Finals

The men's basketball coach Moise Mutokambali is determined to guide Rwanda to the finals of the Zone V Afro-basket tournament.
The Zone V Afro-basketball championship scheduled to be held in Kampala, Uganda from September 21-30 will act as a qualifying platform for the African Championship as well as the All Africa Games.
The Uganda regional edition will attract hosts Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and defending champions Egypt. Finalists will earn a ticket to the African basketball championship to be held next year in Tunisia while the winner will represent the region in next year's All Africa Games due in Congo Brazzaville in August.
The team comprising of only local players started preparations last week. Professional players are expected to join the camp in late August.
"Our target is to at least reach the final as we seek to qualify for the Afro-basketball finals. And I think this mission is possible,"
"We know we will be facing good, elite teams but with the strength of players summoned, I believe we will stage a good show in Kampala," added Mutokambali.

KENYA : Nakuru Register Mixed Results in Premier Ball

NAKURU Club posted mixed results in their weekend premier league basketball matches after they fell 74-54 to Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.
The self supporting side trailed 27-39 at the break against the students who went on to finish the job with ease. Franklin Delano posted 21 points to pep NAC while James Okerio, who posted 21 in Saturday's victory over Blazers, led his team again with 17. Blades had 21 points from Emmanuel Soja and 16 from Collins Gumba as they cut University of Nairobi "Terrorists" to size winning 66-50. UoN, who trailed 18-32 at the breather, had 11 from Mike Oketch.
Ulinzi Warriors shot down Strathmore 64-53. Equity Bank whipped Mennonites 70-50 as Felix Odhiambo and Ian Wachiye made 14 points each while Evans Ngeno bagged 12 and Casey Collins had 14.
Women champions Kenya Ports Authority returned home with maximum points after a 74-16 drubbing of Mennonites. Safe Spaces had a perfect week sinking Western Delight 77-42.
In the lower division, Trailblazers beat Mount Kenya University Kakamega 58-44. Africa Nazarene University (ANU) scored a 56-47 victory over Lakeside while Kenya College of Accountancy University beat Barclays Bank 50-43.

TANZANIA : Arusha, Moshi to Host New Basketball Tourney

Arusha — ARUSHA and Kilimanjaro regions will take turns in hosting an annual open basketball tournament with the former staging the maiden event from September 20-27, this year.
The inaugural 2014 Kilimanjaro Open Basketball Tournament to involve 30 teams and over 400 participants will be staged at the Soweto grounds, Kaloleni area in Arusha.
The tournament's organizing committee chairman, Michael Mwita, said on Monday that efforts are being made to identify several other venues for the week-long event.
He said teams from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and hosts Tanzania are expected to take part in the maiden championship but they anticipate more entries as invitations have already been sent to several other African countries.
The first Kilimanjaro Basketball Tournament is organized by the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) in collaboration with the Arusha Region Basketball Association (ARBA).

It aims to cultivate good neighbourhood and cement sporting relations amongst the participating teams. "Arusha will host this year's tournament but next year it will be Kilimanjaro's turn to stage it in Moshi municipality as competitions will be rotating between the two regions in Northern Tanzania," Mwita said.
More than 20 men's and 10 women's teams from within and outside the country will converge in Arusha for the inaugural championship. The organizers have appealed to potential sponsors to support the event this year.
Mwita said after the tournament players will be taken for a trekking adventure on top of Mount Kilimanjaro as the event is also meant to promote tourism.
Meanwhile, Arusha basketball officials have started to build a strong regional team for the Taifa Cup basketball championship set for November in Dodoma.
ARBA Chairman Barick Kilimba said a regional championship will be held in the city from October 6-27 to pick the team that will take part in the Taifa Cup.

KENYA : KBF to Recall a Few Diaspora Stars to Boost Squad for AAG Qualifiers

KENYA Basketball Federation (KBF) will call few players from the Diaspora to bolster the national team's chances during the All Africa Games qualifiers in Uganda in September.
KBF chairman Paul Otula said he has picked a team headed by former chairman and FIBA commissioner Agina Wesonga to help raise funds for the team and supplement the government commitment. The top teams from the Zone Five qualifiers to be held at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium in Kampala from September 20-25 will also qualify for the FIBA Africa Nations Cup.
"We want to make this a successful outing for the national teams. I have asked Agina to mobilise his financial team and raise money for this venture," said Otula. He explained that the money will also be used to bring few players for the tournament. The KBF supremo also revealed that ex-international Peter Kiganya, who is in the USA, will coordinate the diaspora players and he is also expected to come back home to help out in handling the teams.
The KBF boss named Dankind Academy coach John Coffino as the national team technical director and Immediately after his appointment, the tactician who also coached in USA and the Gulf States, said he is "ready to help".
"Kenyans can make it to the Pan Africa Games. All we need to do is start our preparations early. We must also appeal to friends and well wishers to donate in cash and kind," he said.
Otula said the training programme will start off once the four coaches appointed last week come up with a provisional squad. " We expect the team to alternate training between Nyayo and Safaricom Arena, Kasarani," he said. Anthony Ojukwu (KPA) and Tony Ochieng (Strathmore University) will handle the men's side while Evelyn Kedogo (Eagle Wings) and David Maina (Equity Bank ) will take care of the women.
Agina, who departed for Madagascar yesterday for the FIBA Africa Congress, said he will hit the ground running once he comes back. "I have already held a meeting with some of the members and we hope to roll out our plan once I return. We will need more people in the team," he said.

27 July 2014

RWANDA : Rusizi face Espoir in final hoops league match

Espoir vs Rusizi - 9am

Espoir host Rusizi in the last basketball league match of the regular season this morning at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology courts.
Rusizi face a tough hurdle to overcome already crowned champions Espoir, who are looking to complete an unbeaten regular season for the third year running.
The South Province-based side (Rusizi) is hoping to stun the three-time reigning champions so as to book a ticket to the playoffs. Defeat for them would hand that spot to United Generation Basketball (UGB).
“We have prepared for this match the best way possible and we know that winning is very important for us, we are going to do everything possible to win but it’s going to be tough against the champions,” Rusizi coach Jean Bosco Bahati told Sunday Sport.
Should Espoir beat Rusizi, UGB will finish fourth and earn ticket to the play-offs at the expense of Bahati’s team thanks to their superior scoring average.
In the first round league game, UGB beat Rusizi 70-64, while the later won the second round clash 90-86 score. Both sides will finish with 32 points apiece in case Rusizi lose today. Espoir, CSK and APR are three teams that have already qualified for play-offs.
Espoir top the standings with 38 points, three ahead of second-placed CSK, while APR finished with 33 points.

25 July 2014

NIGERIA : Aderemi Wants to Dominate Africa

ONE could see relief dripping off Adewunmi Aderemi as he walked into the sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, where the DSTV Premier Basketball League Final Eight was taking place at the weekend.
His club, First Bank Basketball Club, had just wrestled the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League trophy from First Deepwater Basketball Club, after many years of playing second fiddle (four seasons) to the oil girls.
With fans acknowledging his presence with cheers and basketball buffs commending him for having the courage to win the title again after several disappointments, Aderemi could only wave and return their pleasantries because his mind was on a higher challenge.
What could be so important to the veteran coach?
Adewunmi told The Guardian that reclaiming the title, which his club dominated for several years, has made him value the title the more. "It is not easy to stay in the cooler for four seasons after dominating for so long. We were used to winning and falling behind was not a joke," he said.
The veteran coach noted that his team might have taken other teams for granted, while winning the title year in, year out, but he admitted that the emergence of First Deepwater and the good form of Dolphins of Lagos have made the league more competitive.
He said: "I guess the arrival of First Deepwater in the league and the good form of Dolphin has made the league more competitive and I hope other teams can raise their game, so that the league can become more vibrant.
"While I will like to dominate the league with my team once again, I will also want to do so with stiff competition from other teams. Again, I think some of the new teams and others who have been in the elite division, did well this season. With a little bit of polishing and financial backing they will improve tremendously."
On his team, the coach popularly called Owolo, said recruiting new players would help the team do well at the continental level.
"The euphoria of winning the title has died down and we will be back to training on August 4. We want to prepare well for the qualifiers so that we can make it to the finals in Tunis. We are not going to rest on our oars in order to achieve great things now that we are back in our element," he added.
While commending the management of First Bank Plc for backing the team during the turbulent period, he noted that the team needs the management backing more than ever to realize its ambition of ruling Africa.
"What will want now is to recruit good players that can add value to the team. And we will need the support of the management to achieve our set goals," Aderemi added.

SEYCHELLES ; On the transfer trail

The second round of the basketball season promises to be an exciting affair as some of the top teams have strengthened their squad.
There is no doubt that the first round has produced some surprising results more so the demise of double winners PLS Hawks who have suffered four defeats in eight matches.
Defending champions Hawks have basically allowed their title to slip out of their grasps with some shock performances where they have not been up to the required level allowing Baya and Mont Fleuri Dawgz to rule the roost.
Hawks now have lost one of their star players, namely centre Rodney Lozé who has moved to the Dawgz to link up with coach Nigel Ah-Kong and his technical advisor Roy Noël.
Coach Ah-Kong told Sports Nation that his team are happy to sign such a top calibre player adding that they are in a strong position in the league but must continue to train seriously and keep their focus.

As for PLS Hawks coach Clifford Joubert, he was not too concerned with the departure of Lozé as he is confident they have enough squad players to overcome this setback.
“We will not stand in the way of a player who decides to move on although I must admit it will be difficult for my team to retain our league title. But we will keep trying our best and use the second round to prepare for the Indian Ocean Club Championship (IOCC) as well as the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) Cup. We must admit that we have been below par but the other teams have not been that exceptional. Therefore this gives us hope that we can have a better second round,” coach Joubert said.

The Hawks though have not signed any player and even Premium Cobras have decided to persevere with the squad at their disposition.

Nevertheless, league leaders Baya, who have lost only once this season, have also signed a top class big man in the shape of Robert Léon from Beau Vallon Heat.
Léon left Baya two seasons ago but has decided to return to Baya as they make a title charge.
“We are delighted to have Robert Léon back as his presence will help boost the morale in our camp as we need players in this position,” Baya’s coach Michel Malbrook told Sports Nation.

The transfers
Rodney Lozé from PLS Hawks to Mont Fleuri Dawgz
James Joubert from RC Dynamics to Grand Anse Wolves
Dean Zelime from Premium Cobras to Grand Anse Wolves
Barry Dubignon from Drifters to Grand Anse Wolves
Mamadou Diallo from RC Dynamics to Juniors
Yannick Larue from RC Dynamics to Juniors
Laura Françoise from Mont Fleuri to B. Challenge
Jean-Yves Edmond from Anse Etoile to Baya
Robert Léon from Beau Vallon Heat to Baya
Alf Aglaé from Premium Cobras to Beau Vallon Heat
Biko Biong from Beau Vallon Heat to Cascade Bullets
Ted Jumaye from Razors to Beau Vallon Heat
Sandy Julienne from Baya to Beau Vallon Heat
Steve Allisop from Mont Fleuri Dawgz to Beau Vallon Heat

R. J-L.

24 July 2014

ANGOLA : Lazaré Adingono in Petro for One More Year

Luanda — The Cameroonian coach Lazaré Adingono will continue to manage the senior males basketball team of Petro de Luanda for one more year.
This was said to the press on Wednesday in Luanda by the Vice- president of the club for basketball, Artur Barros, during the swearing in act of the new managing board of the Petro de Luanda, elected on Saturday.
"We are not going to change anything because the coach still has a year of contract and we are happy the work he has been developing in the last two days.
In Petro de Luanda since 2012, coach has already won two Angola cups.

23 July 2014

TANZANIA : ABC Withdraw From Zone 5 Championship

TANZANIA People's Defence Forces (TPDF) basketball team has withdrawn from the Zone 5 Club Championship to be held in Mombasa from August 25-31, this year.
Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) Secretary General, Saleh Zonga, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the team, popularly known as Army Basketball Club (ABC), will not participate in the zonal competition because of other commitments. "Ahead of us, we have the East Africa Military Games in August and the Zone 5 Championship the same month.
So it will be difficult for ABC to take part in both competitions as they have few players," he said. ABC finished runners-up to JKT in the last National League.
Following ABC's withdrawal, Tanzania Mainland will be represented by JKT and Don Bosco in the men's and women's categories respectively.
Zonga further said both teams are currently undergoing intensive training and are looking forward to giving the nation a worthy representation at the Zone 5 Championship.
"Don Bosco players are training at their Upanga-based home ground while JKT are camping at Mgulani in Temeke municipality.
They are both tactically good and I hope they will perform well," he said. Countries expected to participate in the tournament include Tanzania Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and host Kenya.
The championship will be staged in Mombasa and the Coast Basketball Association (CBA) has already formed an organizing committee.
"We've been informed by FIBA that the tournament will be held in Mombasa and we're very happy for being honoured," CBA Chairman Ali Hilmy said.
"We're now busy with preparations and we have already formed a committee to organise the event," he added. Hilmy said participating teams must be accompanied by an international referee and an official nominated by FIBA.

SOUTH SUDAN : Southern Sudan to Take Part in Fiba Zone 5 Set for Mombasa County in August

WAR-ravaged South Sudan are among eight countries who have confirmed participation in the forthcoming FIBA Zone 5 basketball championship set for next month in Mombasa.
Coast Basketball Association (CBA) have already finalised the arrangement in conjunction with the Kenya Basketball Federation. CBA chairman Ali Hilmy said the regional event set for August 25-31, will be held at Aga Khan Academy and Kenya Ports Authority's Makande gymnasium.
"A total of 23 teams are expected to battle it out for the coveted tittle in both men and women's categories," said Hilmy.
Hosts Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar, and Tanzania will be represented by four teams-- two each in both the men and women's categories while Burudi will have three teams--two men's and one women. Southern Sudan will have two teams (men and women) same as Rwanda.
The event has been sponsored by KPA, Car & General, Ketty Tours, Rotary Club of Mombasa, Mombasa Maize Millers, Imperial Bank, Inchcape, Fidelity Bank, Coca Cola, Freight Forwarders, Apolo Insurance, Musamali Insurance, Habib Bank, Super Sports, Lota Motors and Grain Bulk.
Hilmy said: "I urge fans to come out in large numbers and cheer our local teams as we showcase our basketball talent in our country."

KENYA : Emyba Shoot Down USIU to Reach the NBA League Summit As Woodley Knights Crash

EMYBA shot to the top of Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) table after beating United States International University (USIU) 54-43 at Railways Club.
Collins Ochillo knocked down 25 points for the winners who the previous day had made it two wins with a 83-55 win over Pac University.
Mount Kenya University (MKU) Thika beat Machakos Hawks 61-36 as Benaya Musubi shot 12 points for the winners while Augustine Munica made 14 for the losers.
In other matches, 4-Christ walloped Woodley Knights 76-38 while Neosasa Morans had 31 points from Lewis Wanyoike as they clubbed Feba 57-60.
Legacy felled Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) 52-40 with Pandas beating Embakasi Dynamoz 54-43. JKUA, Karen dismissed Upper Hill School 52-30 with Ulinzi beating Multi Media University 48-34. In the women's category, Strathmore University had 16 from Bianca Nyambura as they hit JKUATS 56-31. Mary Chepkoi had 11 for the Juja side. Parklands Arya Girls got the better of MKU Thika, winning 49-38 as Jackline Tinega registered 15 and Ann Lukongo collected 15 for the losers. Gladiators hit Africa Nazarene University 43-36 in a match where Linda Kimemia scored 13 for the winners and Purity Shelly bagged 17 for the losers

NIGERIA : Continental Glory Is Our Target - Coach Ahmed

Abuja — Coach of Kano Pillars Basketball Club of Kano Sani Ahmed has set his sight on doing the state proud when his team files out in the African club championship.
He attributed hard work together with concentration as the reason for the fifth consecutive victory in DSTV/NBBF Super 8 Premier league won at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National stadium, Surulere Lagos.
Pillars defeated its arc-rivals Markmentors Basketball Club of Abuja by 89 to 88 points to win the league and the coach told LEADERSHIP Sports that planning for the African club continental championship is their next step.
He, however, said the full commencement towards the Africa Club Continental would start when the right date for the tournament had been given.
"We will make sure to curb what happened to us in last year's inter club FIBA tournament in Tunisia not happen again, because beating the defending champions Agusto de Premiro basketball of Angola got into the players' heads. They were praising themselves on the social networks like Twitter, facebook and before it was known to them they lost concentration.
"We hope to win the next FIBA Africa Club Continental but it is not going to be easy, most of the team that came for that competition brought some foreigners, players from NBA but you know one thing we don't have money in Nigeria to bring any foreigner but we went with local players and we played well which is a good experience for them. At the continental tourney we will try to do well at least to get a medal."

UGANDA : Vegetarian to count on Otto for UCU clash

Vegetarian are 4-6 and in eighth position on the 12-team league log going into their final first round game against UCU canons.
One of those four victories however came against TigerHead Power, one of the sides with the best roster in the league. It is for that reason that UCU Canons should be wary of their opponents when the two teams meet today at YMCA for their final first round games.
Vegetarian also recorded their first win in five on Sunday beating Charging Rhino 67-62.
They will look to John Otto for a fifth victory in the absence of last year’s regular season MVP Ben Okumu, who is not expected until the second round because of academic engagements abroad.
Otto is averaging 17 points from his last three games and top scored with 21 points against Rhino with Mark Ongom adding 16.
The Canons (6-4) are meanwhile, coming off the back of a 65-59 loss to Power over the weekend in a game in which they were competitive but clearly missed Sudi Ulanga.
The star shooting guard has been missing with a knee injury and is likely to sit out today’s encounter as well.
In his absence coach Nicholas Natuhereza will hope for similar or better shifts from power forward/centre Ivan Rumanyika, who led with 12 points and 13 rebounds against Power.

RWANDA : Rwanda picks team for Afro-basketball tourney

THE RWANDA BASKETBALL Federation has picked the men’s and women’s national teams to start preparations for the Afro-basketball and All African Games qualifiers.
The men’s team head coach Moise Mutokambali named a 24-man team to start preparations today while eight professional players will join the team in camp next month.
The women basketball coach Jacques Bahige has also named a provisional squad of 26 players to start camp. She summoned 20 local based players and six professionals who will join camp in August.
The men’s team: Aboubacar Ally Barame, Alphonse Habyarimana, Pacifique Habyarimana, Steven Hagumintwari, Lionel Hakizimana, Parfait Ishimwe, Elie Kaje, Pascal Karekezi Rurangirwa, Ali Kubwimana Kazingufu, Aristide Mugabe,  Muhizi Olivier, Sunny N. Munyandamutsa, Jean Paul Ndoli, Bienvenu Ngandu, and Olivier Shyaka.
Professional players summoned include; Kami Kabange (City Oilers), Dan Manzi (USA), Adonis Rwabigwi (USA), Nestor Manzi (USA), Patrice Twagirayezu (USA), Bradley Cameroon (USA), Kenneth Gasana (Morocco), Thierry Suku Suku (ACEB France  and Hamza Ruhezamihigo (Canada).
The women’s squad is comprised of Chantal Akamuntu, Jovithe Kabarere, Joselyne Munyaneza, Charlotte Umugwaneza, Vanessa Umwizerwa, Denise Uwase, Cecile Nzaramba, Yvette Uwizeye, Christine Uwibambe, Gisele Umutoni, Rosine Micomyiza, Jeanne Yamfashije, Priscilla Dodoo, Claudette Imanishimwe, Clementine Ushizimpumu, Clementine Matungano, Esperance Mukaneza, Alice Muhongerwa, Claudette Mugwaneza, Martine Umuhoza and Nicole Rwibutso.
The professional women players include; Henderson Tierra Monay (Angola), Ange Kamanyana (USA), Sabine Mugeni (France), Yvonne Kirezi K. (Drc), Laetitia Mahoro (USA) and Nancy Ishimwe (USA).

22 July 2014

TANZANIA : Kisusi Targets Professional Basketball

TANZANIAN ALPHAES Kisusi intends to play professional basketball in the Unted States of America when he completes his studies abroad.
Kisusi, who is currently studying International Business at the Newfound Memorial University in Canada after securing a scholarship in 2012, said that he is keen to go further in the game.
He said during a two-day basketball training he conducted at the Zanaki Secondary School ground in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that after graduating he will not turn down the chance to feature in the highest basketball league in the world.
Kisusi organized the training while on holiday and it brought together about 50 Under-18 boys and girls players from all Dar es Salaambased clubs. He said that basketball is in his blood and hopes that he will get a chance to play in the US one day.
Kisusi said that he is happy that many youths turned up for training and it went out well as expected. The youth displayed skills that prove that if they are encouraged and given the necessary support they will go further.
"My scholarship came through a basketball camp and it makes me feel good to impact my skills to upcoming players who can also follow my footsteps," he said.
During the training Kisusi taught the youth foot work, jump stop, dribbling, passing, receiving drills, lay-up, shooting drill, jump shots, off dribble jump shots, skills challenge games, general warm up, grouping skills challenge and shooting. John Samwel, one of the participants from Mgulani JKT Club, said he was happy to receive such training from Kisusi.
"I'm happy to see Kisusi having a good spirit to help others. We really benefited from the two-day training. I wish to see more like this from other players living abroad if possible," he said.
He said that Kisusi is an example that anything is possible, because he did not sit back and wait for sponsor to do that ... he did it himself. Kisusi thanked basketball coach Bahati Mgunda of Mambo Basketball, for helping him organize the training which was a success.
He won a scholarship in 2012 after doing well at a basketball camp organised by Mambo Basketball in collaboration with the Tanzania Students Achievement Organisation. The camp ran under Newfound Memorial University coach Peter Bonoite.

UGANDA : From dust to champion: The emergency of Daniel ‘Najja’ Juuko

From dust to champion: The emergency of Daniel ‘Najja’ Juuko Courtesy photo
Making it from the dusty hoops of Najja High School to the National Basketball League’s painted tarmac of the YMCA outdoor facility and crowned champion at the multi-discipline floor of the MTN Arena requires a certain amount of determination – a determination that cannot be weathered no matter how tough it gets.

Daniel Juuko aka Najja came to the top through the ranks from way back in 2009. The smart point guard started out from the dusty court of Najja High School battling for a place on the school’s team that was dominated by foreigners (Kenyans & Tanzanians).
Juuko joined (then) Division III side Berkley in 2010 which was promoted to Division II and turned into Rez Life Saints that also advanced to play in the premier division in the 2012 season and were cellar-dwellers all through the season and condemned back to Division II. While the Saints went down, Juuko was picked up by City Oilers.
“These guys (through Silver Rugambwa) came and talked to me, told me about the aspirations of the team and I was convinced. I had to join them and we are”
It was not rosy for the 24 year old at the start of his basketball life at City Oilers. “I was pretty nervous at the start playing with those guys. They had played for a while at the top and I was almost just starting. I think it was clear how nervous I and Sammie (Samuel Kalwanyi) were”

The breakthrough:
They say hard work is a talent itself. If there is no struggle, there is no progress and not many young players here understand that as much as Daniel ‘Najja’ Juuko. You don’t put in hours of workouts and practice without hunger to do great things.

“Getting here alone is all hard work and of course the trust of the coach. To earn the trust of the coach you have got to work hard and do what is right on court. I put in an extra hour outside of the usual team practice” he says.

In the wake of a poor post season from Muhamed Yusuf, tired legs of Ronnie Kalule and Jimmy Enabu’s knee injury, Juuko proved to be a welcome surprise for City Oilers. The diminutive point guard blew the local basketball faithful away with his stellar performance against an experienced Falcons’ back court in last year’s NBL playoffs finals.
“You may say that Moudy (Mohamed Yusuf) had a bad post season but I think that is not true. The turning point for me was when Jimmy got injured. The coach trusted me and I had to take on the responsibility and did quite well”
Najja has seen his minutes on the court reduce this season, not necessarily a consequence of his own play but the result of Ben Komakech, Jeff Omondi and Jimmy Enabu clogging the rotation.
While it would be easy to shrink away from the spotlight after City Oilers brought in the two experienced guards, Juuko has designs of an impact player – when he comes on, he gets the job done.
Juuko is not afraid to talk about his frustration at not getting as much time as he did at the end of last season but believes it is a learning process for him.
“Every player wants to play and obviously I feel disappointed at times but there is always the right time to prove” he says. “I always want to learn from him (Ben Komakech) much as he is a competitor. I like the way he points – calm and composed.”
The third year guard dreams of being the best player in the league and win in the region and on the continent.
“I want to be the best player in this league, I want to be the MVP at some point” he says. “As you win, the aspirations increase. Now that we have the league (and we want to win it again) we want to represent on the continent as well”

UGANDA : Kabangu’s return to form elevates Falcons

The Serge Kabangu who came to the YMCA court on Sunday is the one Falcons have not seen in a quite a while, the one who helped them reach the finals last December.
In his first season here, the Congolese-born forward was stellar as a side-kick to the six-time champions’ main offensive weapons. As Philip Ameny, Abdullahi Ramadhan and Stephen Omony dominated the show, Kabangu established himself as the silent killer, becoming quite reliable.
Ameny and Dulah left for Tiger Head Power. His responsibility was immediately elevated only that he hasn’t played like he had noticed the change just yet. If Sunday is anything to go by, Kabangu is revitalized.
Season high
He scored a season-high 21 points and 17 rebounds to bury his struggles as Falcons stalled Warriors recently found momentum in an 82-77 victory. Warriors had won their last two, including beating Power 102-92. He did a bit of everything to assume the responsibility of being Falcons’ premier scorer inside the arc even if some incessant three-point attempts could have been avoided.
With Herbert Akhitah ejected in the second quarter, someone had to take charge and Kabangu obliged like many times last season. Kabangu dwarfed Syrus Kiviri’s 21 points and five rebounds, Jonah Mukwaba’s 15 and Steven Mwesigye’s 11 and seven rebounds.
Coach Sam Obol’s team led for large periods and even when Warriors tied it at 68-up and 74-all late in the fourth, Kiviri was there to finish the job. There was no shame in the way Warriors lost even if coach Gad Eteu will know consistency must be found sooner following their lethargic start to the season.

21 July 2014

NIGERIA : MVP Usman Inspires Kano Pillars to Victory

ABUBAKAR Usman was the star of the final game in the DStv Premier Basketball League against Mark Mentors, as his three point shot in the closing minutes handed his team an 89-88 point victory.
He was adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP), the second in a row, and he also picked the highest scorer award with 138 points in five games, while Mark Mentors' forward Abdul Yahaya went home with the highest rebounder award.
Pillars also became the first team to win four titles in the six-season-old league after edging Mentors in a nail-bitting finale.
The thrilling final, kept fans on the edge of their seat as the Abuja-based Mentors looked set to do the impossible leading by four points (88-84) with nine seconds left. However, lost concentration in the dying moments of the encounter, allowing Pillars energetic point guard, Adeolu Olaiya Ojo to go on a fast-break for two points and an hasty ball-inbound cost them (Mark Mentors) the game as Ojo incepted a pass to set-up Pillars main-man, Usman who made a three-point with three seconds remaining.
Efforts by Mentors to draw a foul or make two points did not yield result as the buzzer went off to signal the end of the game. Scores in the four quarters stood at 20-25, 21-19, 20-18 and 28-26.
Usman recorded the play-off high of 38 points, 5 steal, 4 rebound and 4 assist in 35.27 minutes and was joined in double figure by the duo of Ibrahim Yusuf (11 points, 3 rebounds) and Adeolu Olaiya Ojo (10 points and 3 steal) to hand Pillars the trophy.
Dodan Warriors retained it third position with an 81-71 points (08-16, 14-22, 18-15, 27-14 and 04-14) victory over Gombe Bulls after over-time with both sides garnering 67 points in regulation time.
Meanwhile, the president of the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tijjani Umar said umpire Tunde Popoola got the decision to cancel the final basket scored by Mark Mentors right.
After he and the chairman of Mark Mentors, Mark Igoche came out of the OB van of TV right owners SuperSport to review the dying seconds of the epic final match.
"From the replay, it was clear that Musa Usman still had possession of the ball as time expired. The referee dully indicated that, and from the video footage I and Igoche saw, the referee got the decision right".
Controversy ensued at the venue when Popoola cancelled Mark Mentors Usman's basket at the end of the game. Mentors, who led all through the game, led by 4 points with 21 seconds to go. However there was a dramatic twist of fortune when Pillars took the lead by one point, 89-88 points with 5 seconds left on the clock. With the championship title still at stake, Mark Mentors pushed to score within the time left. They did score, but it was too late as time expired before they could get the ball in the basket.

KENYA : Champions Co-Operative Bank Roll Over Strathmore Blades

REIGNING national champions Co-op Bank of Kenya defeated Strathmore Blades 68-57 in KBF Premier league duel at the Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani.
James Mwangi scored 16 points for the bankers while Titus Musembi added 15. For the students' Robert Hope managed to net 14 and Valentine Nyakinda posted 11.
Thunder struck Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) 94-62, behind game high of 43 points from Griffin Ligare. Felix Luke and Frankline Delano managed 18 points and Job Byron made 10 points for NAC.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) went into over drive humiliating Nakuru Club 121-65 in a one-sided demolition. Dickson Aran and Samuel Ochola managed 20 points each. Nakuru's James Okerio collected 23 points.
In the women's matches, Co-op Bank nipped Ulinzi Blades 59-58. Linet Atieno scored 16 points and Grace Wanjiku 12. The soldiers had 22 from Bridgid Nanzala and 15 from Rebecca Serange. At the Nyayo Stadium gymnasium, former champions Eagle Wings eclipsed Kenyatta University 'Oryx' 40-27 as veteran Eunice Ouma made 13 points. In the lower division matches, Trailblazers pipped Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University 59-58 while Eldonets beat Parklands Baptist 59-42. In the Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) provincial matches played at Railways Club, UoN Dynamites beat Gladiators 40-39 while Zetech College trounced JKUATS Juja 31-29.
Other results were as follows: Cuea 43 All Stars 36; Emyba 83 Pac University 55; Anu 35 MKU Thika 51; Parklands Girls 39 Footprints 30, Daystar 29 Equity 65; Dynamoz 44 Upper Hill 50, Our Lady Queen of Peace 38 USIU 31-29.

KENYA : KU Pirates keen to avoid relegation

  • Arial Okal of KAA against Kenyatta University Pirates who are keen to stay in the men's KBF Premier league after losing key players last season. The University only fields current students.
Kenyatta University Pirates, one of the teams promoted to the Kenya Basketball Federation men's premier league this year, has found itself fighting relegation in their debut season.
The varsity side had their eyes on the playoffs but a poor start has forced head coach Gitau Waringo to review his goals. Pirates has played twelve matches and won only one against bottom side Blazers.
“The playoffs are out of question for us looking at the performance. Our main objective in the remaining games is to play hard and be among the top fourteen teams and avoid relegation,” he told sportsnewsarena.com.
At the start of the season, Pirates lost five key players who were part of the starting five last season in their division one campaign. Gilbert Obiero (now with Umoja), Douglas Momanyi, Nicodemus Odhiambo, Robert Otieno and Jonathan Lando are not part of the team anymore and Waringo rues their exit.
“Its very difficult for us without the five,” he observed saying his team is equal to the task. “I cannot say competition in the league is big for us but its only that we don't have the key players. If they were there, we could now be playing in the top four and matching these top teams.”
He adds the institution’s policy of releasing players who graduate and picking players from within has put to rest any chances of seeking replacements. The university’s long holiday that begins in March till August has also complicated the team’s chances.
Since the start of the 2014 season in April, players have been operating from home and it is difficult to raise a quorum during training. On Sunday, they lost 55-75 to Thunder after putting up a strong fight.
Griffin Ligare scored 25 points for Thunder, grabbed seven rebounds and five steals with Cliff Alela adding 18 points, 16 rebounds and two steals. Jacktone Agunda was Pirates’ highest scorer with 17 points.Thunder beat Nairobi Aviation College 94-62 on Saturday.
Drama on Sunday
There was drama on Sunday after Equity Bank refused to play Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, at the Nyayo gymnasium which resulted in a 20-0 walkover for the dockers. The match was earlier slated for Friday night at Kasarani but rescheduled to Sunday.
However, Equity players insisted they were prepared to play against Blazers and not KPA occasioning the stalemate. KPA had earlier beaten Nakuru Club 121-65 on Saturday.
Nakuru was on the losing end again on Sunday going down 50-68 to champions Co-operative Bank. Nick Ondinyo had 13 points for the bankers while Nakuru’s top scorer was Robert Kibet with 11 points. Nakuru won the first quarter 15-13 and Co-op Bank the subsequent quarters 18-9, 20-11 and 17-15.
On Saturday, the bankers beat Blades from Strathmore University 68-57.
Lions continued with its resurgence after beating Strathmore University 60-58 at the death on Sunday. It was a comeback win for Lions who trailed 22-33 at the breather.
United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, extended its season record to 10-0 with a 67-35 win over Kenya College of Accountancy- University, KCA-U. Georgia Adhiambo top scored for USIU-A with 11 points while Celestine Isabwa scored 16 for KCA-U.
Ulinzi Blades registered their fourth win of the season beating Safe Spaces 50-40. Safe Spaces featured five players only without any substitutions for the entire game and exhaustion played a key role in their loss.
Rebecca Sarange top-scored for Ulinzi with 13 points and Florence Mbithe for Safe Spaces with 10. Ulinzi’s record stands at 4-5 and head coach Moses Shida remains hopeful of making it to the playoffs.
“The team is generally good only that our bench power is very weak. We don't have quality players to complement the regulars but we must play in the playoffs despite tough competition.”
in another match, Suzanne Akinyi scored 18 points to steer Sprite Storms to a 57-23 win over Western Delights. Jacqueline Chelashaw scored 11 points for Delights who lost all quarters 8-6, 12-4, 17-9 and 20-4. Eagle Wings scored 40-27 against Kenyatta University Oryx.
KBF Weekend Results: KPA 20 Equity Bank 0 (wo), Ulinzi Blades 50 Safe Spaces 40, KCA-U 35 USIU Flames 67, Co-op Bank 68 Nakuru Club 50, Sprite Storms 57 Western Delights 23, Eagle Wings 40 KU Oryx 27, KCA-U 58 Trailblazers 59, Parklands Baptist 42 Eldonetts 59, Lions 60 Strathmore University 58, Thunder 75 KU Pirates 55, Nairobi Aviation College 62 Thunder 94, Co-op Bank 68 Blades 57, KPA 121 Nakuru Club 65.

UGANDA : Dulah thrills to lift Power over UCU Canons

When Abdullahi Ramadhan first came to Uganda in 2009, Fuba president and Warriors boss Ambrose Tabshobya had a glowing description of the Tanzanian.
“He is probably one the best players I have ever seen in this region,” Tashobya said. The guard didn’t disappoint then, helping Warriors to their first Airtel National Basketball League title in his first season.
In that season, all we saw was ‘Dulah’, the match-winner. While the first cut was deep, he has since oscillated from brilliant to lethargic and individualistic, or even annoying.
On Friday at YMCA, Dulah was individualistic. However, Tiger Head Power, his current team having joined from Krishna Falcons, needed him to be exactly that, bordering on selfish.
They struggled offensively. His 17 points, most of them tough driving lay-ups, were crucial to Power beating UCU Canons 65-59. Paul Odong added 14.
This was an important result as the five-time champions lost 102-92 to Warriors seven days prior. Also, the game could be remembered for the depletion of the two rosters.
Philip Ameny and Norman Blick were missing due to suspension and injury respectively. UCU, already without Desmond Owili until November, had Sudi Ulanga join the treatment room with a knee problem.
“Someone had to try and win the game,” Dulah said. And he was dead right as UCU weren’t much better in terms of creating plays and penetration except when Dulah attacked, changed hands.
In the absence of Owili and Ulanga, Ivan Lumanyika scored 12 and 13 rebounds and Jonathan Engwau contributed 12 off the bench.

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