29 April 2006

KENYA: Kenya Teams Dominate Club Championship

Kenyan clubs continued to dominate the East and Central Africa basketball club championship with Ulinzi Warriors, Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenya Ports Authority recording their second straight victories yesterday.

At the same time, several players and officials have complained about the lack of proper medical and emergency facilities at Nyayo Stadium, venue of the tournament.

Ulinzi sprinted to a 77-30 win over Stone Town of Zanzibar at Nyayo Stadium. The Zanzibaris, who arrived in Nairobi at 1 am yesterday, did not have much to offer against the superior Kenyan soldiers, who restricted them to just four points in the opening quarter with the score on 21-4.

The Kenyans continued their good defensive work, letting in just another four points to lead the Stone Town 48-8 at half time.

On offence, Ulinzi met little resistance as Ancet Wafula, Tom Opar and Vincent Ambani sunk shots at will from behind the arc.

Despite the huge margin of loss, Stone Town exhibited good technique and ball handling skills.

Their coach, Said Ali, blamed the loss on fatigue after their long road trip from Zanzibar. "We got here at 1 am and it was not until 3 am that we went to sleep. The players are therefore fatigued and that is why they couldn't play well," said the coach.

In the first match of the day, the KPA women were too good for Cargo, strolling to a 87-39 victory over the Tanzania Mainland side. Rose Ouma was the toast of the KPA attack, scoring 27 points. Halima Bori was the top scorer for Cargo with 13 points.

In the third match of the day, Berco Stars women of Burundi squandered a 13-point lead midway through third quarter to go down 56-53 to A1 Challenge of Uganda.

After a slow scoring first quarter in which both teams were tied 9-9, the Burundi women led 25-23 at half time and dominated the third quarter before the Ugandans clawed their way back into the match to finish the quarter four points behind on 39-43 after trailing by more than ten points for most of the quarter.

As the final quarter started, Betty Namukasa scored twice to put the Ugandans ahead for the first time in the game. Belyse Mugisha responded with a three pointer to level the score at 47-all. Lack of experience begun to tell on the young Burundians as they rushed into shots, gave away free throws and engaged in verbal exchanges with each other and with their coach.

The Ugandans duly capitalised on their opponents' mistakes to wrap up the game.Kenya Commercial Bank also had no difficulties disposing of Nkumba Marine of Uganda, whom they beat 83-43.

Several players and officials have complained about the lack of proper medical and emergency facilities.

"We are disappointed because our players have been injured and we have not seen serious first aid personnel here. This is a contact sport and we do not know what would happen if someone got badly injured because we have not even seen an ambulance here," said a player from the Tanzania who declined to be named.

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