17 December 2008
KENYA : How glorious Port girls did it
By PHILIP ONYANGO
Kenya Ports Authority women’s basketball team have attributed there success in the local league scene to player dedication, willingness to learn and unbelievable support from the management.
Team coach, Anthony Ojukwu, while congratulating his players for winning this year’s league title without breaking much sweat to make to make it four in a row, said all this could not be possible without a dedicated team of players and management support.
“What has impressed with this team is that the players have learnt to know what to do thus making our work as technical officials easy,” Ojukwu said.
He, however, says self discipline was still lacking among some players who wait for the coaches to do everything for them instead of setting aside their free time to work on their weak areas.
Similar sentiments were expressed by team captain, Caroline Arato, who believes that what is left for KPA women now is to get international build up matches to conquer Africa.
Main weak point
“It is unfortunate that the only team we can get competition from locally is Mombasa High School which makes it very difficult for us to cope when we meet clubs at the international level”, Arato who was voted this year’s leagues Most Valuable player said in reference to Mombasa High School which are reigning Kenya and East Africa secondary school games basketball champions.
Arato, however, believes the team needs to do a lot of shooting, which he says has been the their main weak point.
“You can see how APR from Rwanda have been gaining from us whenever we play until they beat us at last during the Africa club championships in Nairobi recently because whenever we play, they gain but we do not learn anything from them,” Arato said, adding that practice matches against established teams like Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola would do the team more good.
Coach Ojukwu is however urging the Kenya Basketball Federation to support them by putting into place structures which will be followed by all teams.
“We have failed to make an impression at the international level and will not make any soon if the KBF do not support clubs by ensuring that a uniform system of developing players right from the grass roots is adopted”, Ojukwu said.
This he says can be achieved by organising frequent coaching clinics to update the coaches on any new techniques among others things.
Ojukwu who also believes massive recruitment has helped him dominate that local league scene now want to conquer Africa by injecting professionalism into the KPA team for next year’s international assignment.
He says he intends to convince the KPA management to allow him to bring back Kenya’s top basketball players who are in the US for international assignments as has been the case with other teams among them defending champions Desportivo from Mozambique and Primero de Agosto from Angola who invited players from the US for the championships.
“We have Josephine Achieng and Beatrice Awino(Union University), Gladys Wanyama(Lewis and Clerk), and Rose Ouma (Texas), all veruy good,” Ojukwu said