23 November 2008
KENYA : On an Eagle Wing and a prayer
By CAXTON APOLLO and PHILLIP ONYANGO
Eagle Wings, one of the two teams representing Kenya in the on going 14th Fiba Africa Women’s championships face early elimination as the event enters the fourth day at Nyayo Stadium on Sunday.
Drawn in Group ‘A’, the toughest of the two pools, Eagle Wings reduced their chances of qualification for the quarter final difficult when they lost their second straight match 82-60 to Mali’s experienced Djoliba on Friday night.
They lost their opening match of the tournament 66-53 to ABC of Cote D’ Ivoire.
Eagle Wings must beat First Bank of Nigeria to qualify for the semis. Eagle Wings were scheduled to play the Nigerian outfit on Saturday evening.
Drawn in the tough Group A, Wings played a much improved game but still could not match the more skilful Malians who had in their lineup Mbengue Ndeye, a member of the Mali National team which participated in this years Olympic games in Beijing China.
Ba Anjindeye opened the floodgates with a free throw before Mbeguye Ndeye, who nailed six three pointers in the match, sunk two from outside the arc within the first minute. Traore Nassira made two free throws bringing the score to 9-0 as Wings coach Thomas Smarts olumbocalled a timeout.
This paid off as Eunice Ouma and Anastacia Mburu responded with three pointers to close the gap 9-6.
Two successful free throws from Janet Okoth made it 9-8 to the delight of hundreds of fans at the Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium.
Brigit Nyongesa and Janet Akoth contributed four points for a 13-15 difference, the best score line for Eagle Wings in the first half as Djoliba raced to a 22-13 first quarter lead.
Ndeye scored a game high 25 points for Djoliba with other contributions coming from Serem Aminata (11) and Koneunou (9) Brigit Nanzala 12 points, Caroline Achieng 11 points and Maurine Andalia nine were top scorers for Eagle Wings.
Even worse for the Wings, they face another big hurdle in Africa’s top side Primero Agosto of Angola whom they play on Monday at 6pm.
They will play their final preliminary round match against Radi of Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday from 6pm.
Tournament favourites Primero Agosto are already through to the quarters following their two consecutive victories.
After their win over First Bank , the Angolans thrashed Radi of DRC 75-53. the fight for the remaining three quarter final slots in Group A is now between First Bank, Djoliba and ABC of Cote D’ Ivoire.
In other matches,First Bank of Nigeria defeated ABC from Cote d Ivoire 57-50 after leading 21-19 at the break. US based Udoka Mfon scored 11 points while Ekoromandu Joyce contributed 15 points. ABC had Berte Salimaia scoring 13 points while Obaye Asion made eight.
Rwanda’s APR got their first win - a 81-21 victory over Uganda’s KCC Leopards with Joselyne Muhongerwa of APR Rwanda scoring 30 points.
Results: ABC 66 Eagle Wings 53, Victoria Club 41 Desportive 85, Radi 63 First Primero Agosto 75, Eagle Wings 60 Djoliba 82, KPA 44 APR 43, Desportivo 88 APR 41, KPA 73 KCC 41. Today’s sunday fixtures: KCC v CSA (9am), Radi v Djoliba (11am).