29 October 2006

KENYA : KPA women pay the price of complacency

By Dann O’were

Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA’s) poor show in the Africa Feminine Club Basketball Championships in Libreville, Gabon, should be blamed on lack of seriousness.

Results from the continental event proved that KPA, the national champions, took things for granted. The technical bench and the club officials should have known that the team required serious preparation prior to competing in a tournament of such magnitude.

KPA finished fourth in the last championships held in Dakar, Senegal, last year and were expected to do better this year.

Pooled in group A, the porters started their campaign on a sad note, losing 59-48 to Somo of Gabon before squeezing a narrow 62-57 win over ISPU of Mozambique.

They then fell 64-84 to Inter of Angola and 42-70 to First Bank of Nigeria before winding up their tour with a meaningless 72-60 win over Arc Ciel of DR Congo.

During the Dakar event, Gladys Wanyama led the scoring chart with 88 points, but she found the going tough in Gabon.

What happened to internationals Mirriam Awuor and Milicent Anyango? Or could it be the change of clubs by Caroline Arato from Telkom a week to the championships?

Africa championships have proved to be tough events and inexperienced teams stand no chance of making it, unless of course they have a Lisa Leslie or Lauren Jackson.

Antony Ojukwu and Sammy Wanjohi knew the magnitude of the tournament yet they played no meaningful friendlies as part of their build-up.

The truth is, they were not ready for the event, and that they have learnt the lesson the hard way. KPA have the resources,and they would have recruited well for the show.

KCB Lions are headed for Lagos, Nigeria, for the Masculine Club Championships. Their performance on the local scene is worse compared to that of KPA and one wonders whether their trip to Nigeria is worth it.

If it is, we will see during the November 17-26 competition.

There are fears that Lions will have it rough because the standard of men’s championships will be higher than the women’s.

Pool B teams in the Gabon event were Primero of Angola, Ferroviaro of Mozambique, ABC of Ivory Coast, Djoliba of Mali, Hatari of DR Congo and Dolphins of Nigeria.

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