20 October 2006

KEANYA : Arato is Left Behind As She Loses Passport

International Caroline Arato was yesterday left behind as the Kenya Ports Authoritywomen basketball team left for Libreville, Gabon, after her passport got lost.

Arato, who together with Mwajuma Suleiman were traded from Telkom Kenya, and whose first major assignment will be the 12th Women Africa Cup which starts on Saturday, had handed their passports and that of coach Sammy Wanjohi to the Kenya Basketball Federation to process for them the Gabonese visas.The Gabonese Embassy said the visas for three would be ready earliest today. But FIBA Africa technical director Julien Farran directed that the three travel without visas.

Wanjohi, who is a FIBA instructor, said Farran asked the Gabon Basketball Federation to prepare the visas for the three on arrival in Libreville tonight, which the hosts accepted.
Kenya Basketball Federation Nairobi branch chairman Ronny Owino was a busy man for a better part of yesterday, making efforts to enable Arato get a new passport to enable her link with the rest of the team before Saturday.
KPA team manager Edward Oduor said Arato has been booked on tomorrow's flight to Gabon if she gets a new passport in time.
"We have made arrangements for her to travel on Friday and are hopeful that she will arrive in time for our opening match," Oduor said of Arato.
The rest of the KPA team members left the Moi International Airport Mombasa at 7.30am and had a four hour stopover in Nairobi.Other teams in the championships include: defending champions Djoliba from Mali, Primeiro de Agosto from Angola, First Bank from Nigeria, Somo 'B' from Gabon, Dolphins from Nigeria, ABC from Cote d'Ivoire, ARC En Ciel from DR Congo, Inter Club from Angola, Ferroviarrio and ISPU from Mozambique.

The contigent of players and officials boarded the 11am Kenya Airways flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The team was due to make a stopover in Douala, Cameroon, to connect a flight to Libreville.

The eight day tournament that brings together 12 top clubs in the continental ends on October 29. Mali's Djoliba won 2005 title in Dakar, Senegal where KPA scooped the fourth position. Seven teams participated.

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