21 April 2006

KENYA: 12 Teams Enter East Africa Tourney

The East and Central Africa basketball club championships will be held at Nyayo Stadium from April 24 to 30.

The East and Central Africa Basketball Confederation chairman, Morris Aluanga, said 12 teams from six countries had already confirmed participation.

They are Co-operative Bank, Ulinzi warriors and KCB Lions (men), Sprite Storms, KPA (women) from Kenya, JKT (men and women) of Tanzania, Nkumbe Marine (men) and A1 Challenge (women) from Uganda, Stone Town (men) of Zanzibar and APR (men and women) of Rwanda. Burundi will send both men and women's teams.

Kenyan teams are the defending champions. KCB Lions and Sprite Storms won the men and women's titles last year in Dar-es-Salaam.

Aluanga said FIBA Africa had recognised the East and Central Africa Basketball Confederation for the first time.

The Africa body will send a technical expert, who will hold a three-day coaching clinic from today.

Aluanga said this was a first step towards total integration of the East and Central Africa region into one zone.

"It has become very difficult for some countries in East and Central Africa to actively participate in basketball due to the different zones," said Aluanga.

"You find that countries like Uganda and Rwanda are not active simply because of the expenses involved in taking part in competitions within their zone," said Aluanga.For the first time, the winner of next week's club championships will gain direct entry to the Africa club championship finals.

Kenya is the only country to have taken part in the continental event.

Kenya Basketball Federation chairman, Wesonga Agina, said tickets for the club championship would be on sale at Nyayo for Sh50, with a discounted charge of Sh20 for students.

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