17 January 2007

KENYA : Looks forward to a busy new year, reviews 2006

The season starts in Ernest in February with the national men and women's teams taking part in the All Africa Games qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.

Then showdown tips off on February 3 through to 10 and Kenyans have been training hard at Nyayo NationalStadium gymnasium under veteran coaches Ronny Owino and Thomas Olumbo.

After Kigali, there will be the East and Central Africa club show in Bujumbura, Burundi in April. Four teams led by defending champions KCB Lions and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will carry the country's flag.

The other two, according to Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) competitions secretary Steve Nyakina, will be the national champions, Ulinzi Warriors (men) and Telkom (women).

July will be the month the All Africa Games takes place in Algiers, Algeria and Kenya hopes to be there, especially the ladies who also were in Abuja in 2003.

Latter in November, KBF plans to host the final tour of the Africa Feminine Club championships where Telkom will carry the country's hopes in the 12 team show.

A look at 2006 in review, the local scene was as bright as always with Ulinzi and Telkom claiming the 2006 national Premier League men and women titles respectively.

But at the international level, things were less impressive as all the country's representatives in the continental podium faired badly.

Maseno High School in South Africa, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Gabon, KCB Lions in Nigeria and the national U 20 team did not fair well either in the Africa National Olympic Committee (Anoca) games.

But on a brighter note a regional event held in Uganda saw the Nairobi men and women teams do the country proud by lifting the Inter Cities titles in Kampala.

After some grueling 7 months of intense activity, 12 teams (four men, four women and four lower division) teams booked a ticket to the November play offs.

In the semi finals of the best of three series, all teams except Ulinzi went through without losing a game. They lost to KCB Lions 70-74, the only fixture they would lose whole year.

Their opponents, Co-operative Bank of Kenya shut out United States International University (USIU)2-0 (76-63 and 73-61).

When they reached the finals against Co-op Bank, the soldiers made history by capturing their fifth title in a row by winning 2-0 (79-73 and 84-83)before a packed Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.

Ulinzi was dominant whole year and judging by the personnel at their disposal, they will continue to reign for more years to come laeving others trailing in their wake.

In the women's semi finals, KPA, who had lost to Telkom in Nairobi in the regular season met and beat Yana Milele 2-0 (77-51 ) while Telkom shut out Sprite Storms 2-0 (49-43 and 68-64)

But if they thought the crown would go back to Mombasa on a silver platter, it wa s not to be to their shock Telkom hit them 2-1 after losing the first tie in Mombasa 71-59.

They gave Caroline Arato and Mwajuma Suleiman contracts and a trip to Libreville, Gabon, after the former single handedly dismantled their defense in that wins.

Games two and Three were sad for KPA. Telkom went up 68-57 and as if that was no fluke closed the lid firmly shut on KPA's fifth title attempt with a well taken 55-49 win.

The Telkom win prompted one question I have always wanted to ask for months- are KPA coaches Anthony Ojukwu and Sammy Wanjohi working together?

Kisumu Lakeside did the city proud, in only their first outings they roasted Java Warriors 67-61 at the own back where they remain unbeaten.

Java thought they had a strong chance when the series returned to Nairobi but they did not better in a close 66-68 loss as the Kisumu lads claimed the Divison 1 title.

There were the dark sides too as former East and Central Africa club champions Postbank, Sprite Stormers and Kenya Railways withdrew from the League at the start of the year without playing a game.

Yana did join the show to the relief of many, but did not provided enough challenge losing all its matches to the top three.

Next year Catholic Dream Team (CDT) and Kisumu Lakers will join the show. But whether they will withstand the challenge or merely add up the numbers will be seen when the new season tips off ? And as that was not enough, Coast Youth Club (CYC) and Nakuru Club pulled out midstream watering down the competition even further.


Lions traveled to Lagos for the 21st Africa Masculine Championships and saw red. Lost 82-105 to Dodan Warriors of Nigeria, 69-82 to Inter of Congo, beat Back of Guinea 69-67 before losing to the same team 44-56, 57-73 to Onatra of DR Congo and 54-95 to eventual winners Petro Athletico.


Unlike KCB who were placed last KPA did make a bold attempt winning three of their eight matches. Took 14 team personnel that included two school girls none of who ever stepped onto the court.

Started off against Somo of Gabon and lost 48-59, played ISPU of Mozambique and won 62-57, crushed 64-84 to Inter of Angola and 42-70 to First Bank of Nigeria. 70.

The porters won 72-60 over Arc en Ciel of Congo and went past Dolphins of Nigeria 91-81 before posting another 73-66 win over Arc.


Despite losing all their matches in the 15th Africa U 18 Junior championships in Durban, South Africa, Maseno High School did the country proud.

The former national school champions represented the country in a first ever major junior show which was indeed a milestone. They lost all their four matches, but improved in every game.

Maseno were crushed 102-75 by defending champions Nigeria in their opener. In their second tie against another Africa powerhouse Angola, they fell 42-86.

They went on to lose 64-84 to Guinea in a high scoring match and were hit 53-83 by Cote d' Ivoire in their final preliminary fixtures.

The matches, that brought together nine nations saw the eventual winners Nigeria and silver medalists Angola book a ticket to fly Africa's flag in the World Stage in Vancouver, Canada next year.


Egypt easily bagged the inaugural Associations of National Olympics Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Zone Five championships gold medal by betting Rwanda 87-62.

Egypt's Mohammed Ihab was declared the Most Valuable Player (MVP)while Kenya's David Ogolla took home the Most Disciplined Players award.

Kenya lost to Rwanda 86-77 but beat Burundi 44-37 to bag the bronze medal in the finals played at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Kenya played in pool A at Nyayo gym and whipped Ethiopia 91-44, piped Burundi 60-57 and crushed Tanzania 78-30. Other countries that took part were Eritrea, Uganda and Somalia

Dann O'Were

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