30 November 2011

KENYA : Co-op Bank to face KCB in play-off final .

AN epic battle is on the cards this weekend as reigning champions Co-operative Bank of Kenya tackle arch rivals KCB Lions. Going by what transpired in last year’s finals between the two giants where chaos reigned and Co-op were declared the winners, fans cant wait for this one.

On their way to the finals, Co-op Bank way laid Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 2-0—taking Game One 64-61 in Mombasa and shutting the porters out of the post season with a stunning display winning Game Two 82-62 in Nairobi. Lions on the other hand, reached the finals by playing only in the quarter finals, where they beat Thunder 2-0. But their semi finals tie against Ulinzi Warriors was a non-starter as the soldiers were called on duty.
The ladies finals is already on with KPA leading Eagle Wings 1-0 having posted a 53-46 in Mombasa on Saturday. The dock women will travel to Nairobi for Game Two and possibly Game Three. In their match against KPA, the champions were up close 14-13 in the second quarter before breezing away 20-14 in the third. They took the last quarter 25-20.
Abel Nson led the winners scoring tally with 15 points while Peter Kiganya posted another 14 points. But it was the porters who had a game high of 18 points from Martin Gitonga and 13 from Dan Ocholla. University of Nairobi “Terrorists” shut out Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) 52-42 in the lower division semis. The campus lads rallied behind Billy Oketch’s 14 points while Ben Oluoch pepped the losers with 12. Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) dismissed Parklands Baptist 63-56 in a classification game.

SEYCHELLES : Drifters sweep play-off clash to stay in top flight

Anse Boileau-based Drifters have secured a spot in the men’s division one league next season after dominating the play-off series against second division runners-up Anse Etoile.

Drifters, who finished ninth in the first division this year, swept the best-of-three play-off series, condemning Anse Etoile to the lower division.
In the first match on Saturday, Drifters beat Anse Etoile 81-67, while the final score of the second match on Monday was 79-53.
Drifters will now play alongside league champions PLS Hawks, Premium Cobras, MBU Rockers, Baya, SBF Cup winners Mont Fleuri Dawgz, Cascade Bullets, Angels and RC Dynamics in the nine-team top league next year.
R. D.

29 November 2011

NIGERIA : Defenders' Coach Revels On Premier League Berth

Tope Olowosulu, the Head Coach, Defenders Basketball Club, Abuja, has said the men's qualification for the 2012 DSTV Premier League had opened a window of opportunity for their sponsors.

Olowosulu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja that their sponsors, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), were hitherto acknowledged for their exploits in athletics.
   "But the team's qualification now gives the NSCDC a good opportunity do exploits in team sports, particularly basketball," the coach said.
The Defenders last week qualified for next season's Premier League at the end of the National Division One Basketball Championship held in Abuja.
They had topped the Savannah Conference of the championship to earn the ticket to replace Plateau Peaks of Jos who were relegated.
The coach said that NSCDC's sports activities would be further boosted by the foray into basketball, complimenting their strides in athletics."The NSCDC have become a big force in Nigerian sports through the promotion and sponsorship of athletes and teams, notably in athletics.

   "But we can become bigger with basketball, and the Defenders' qualification for the Premier League will help in this regards," he said.
Olowosulu, who praised the effort of the NSCDC's Commander-General, Dr Ade Abolurin, said his support and direction had helped the organisation develop the potential of its sportsmen.
The coach said the Defenders would be more focus and step up their game so as to live up to expectations and excel in the 2012 DSTV/NBBF Premier League.
"We just need more focus, and we will be where we should be. Luckily for us, we have in our Commander-General somebody that will always give us the support we need to do well.
   "With his support, we have been able to do well to this level" he said.
Olowosulu said that his team would, as part of preparations for its campaign in the league next season, engage some more experienced players to beef up its squad.
   "We have young players, but we will still have to inject some experienced players into our squad; those with some Premier League experience. This will help us to come up well in the competition," the coach said.
He however praised his players' efforts in winning the Premier League ticket, despite their relative inexperience.

NIGERIA : Continental Basketball - First Deepwater, First Bank Intensify Training

Host of the 17th edition of the FIBA Africa Champions Club for Women, First Deepwater and former champions First Bank have intensified training ahead the commencement of the continent's biggest women club competition to begin this weekend in Lagos. Host, First Deepwater also promised to stage a good event. The host yesterday said they will add value by bringing a mixture of basketball and entertainment to the competition. To this end, the club has lined up two up-coming musicians to perform on every game day.

The two Nigerian representatives at the 2011 final round of the champions club, First Deepwater and First Bank said they have doubled their trainings ahead of the first jump-ball this Sunday. Head coach of First Deepwater Lateef Erinfolami said his girls are battle ready for the final showdown. The former Nigeria senior national team and Ebun Comets captain said his optimism is based on the performance of his girls at the 2010/2011 women league season won by the club for a second straight season in Lagos. "We are set for any opposition and very eager to take to the floor of the sports hall and we want to enjoin basketball lovers in Nigeria to troop out in large numbers to give us maximum support."
The Nigerian league champions stated that the artists will perform at half-time of the games from December 4 to 10.
The two musicians billed for the continent's biggest women club competition are KOP9DZ with their 'BOJU BOJU' from the forthcoming album and 'CHECKMATE' crooner MR WALZ.

KENYA : ‘Terrorists’ back in top tier after years in the lower league .

UNIVERSITY of Nairobi “Terrorists” are back in the national Premier League after years in the lower division. The campus lads who played at the top level in the 90’s booked their ticket over the weekend when they shut out Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) 2-0 to complete a sweep of the play-offs semi-finals series.

UoN dismissed NAC 52-42 at Nyayo, a feat which followed a 51-46 win in Game One at the same venue a week ago. They will now face Kisumu Lake-side in a match to determined lower division winners. The team’s tactician Emmanuel “Ajush” Ochieng, who took over the reigns a year ago, attributed the achievement to hard work and discipline. “When the season started we had a meeting as a team and set ourselves promotion target.
Our prayers have been answered and I commend the boys for a job well done,” he said. “The good thing about this team is that the top cream will still be available when the next season starts. Most of my players are second year students and this should provide continuity for the team next year,” he said.

UGANDA : Power await winner of UCU-Warriors Game 5

DMark Power normally come to YMCA court on days like this to go through their paces. Today, they will be there as spectators and judges.

The champions will definitely struggle to be impartial as Warriors and UCU Canons clash in the decisive Game Five of their semifinal series.
Power take a deserved the day-off. Coach Bernice Ankunda’s side beat Miracle Eagles 84-79 on Sunday night to clinch the series 3-1. That gave them a place in a fourth successive final with a game to spare.
Ankunda has a preference. “I would prefer Warriors. UCU are more technical,” he said, rather jokingly. The players will concentrate on analyzing their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
One of the things that must occupy them is how to beat the zonal defence. Whenever Miracle have used it in the just- ended series, the four-time national champions have laboured for options.

Komakech masterclass

Warriors and UCU are brilliant at it. However, such is the quality of Power that they often get an out of jail card – Ben Komakech. The two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) scored 20 points and five assists to roll over Miracle who looked drained by their first appearance in the playoffs.

Belief drives UCU against Warriors
Despite leading 21-18 after the first period, Power hit back superbly to win the second 29-14. That proved the turning point. Miracle edged the final two 21-17 and 23-20 respectively.
   “Mentally, we were not at par with Power. They were the better side,”Joe Burua, the beaten coach, said. He can take heart from the little moments like winning Game One 80-65 before losing the superseding three to bow out.
Power were not as dominant as Game Three which they won 82-65. It didn’t matter even if skipper Isaac Afidra had 10 points and 10 rebounds. He had 19-15 in the game that surely broke Miracle’s resistance.
Stephen Omony bowed out with a game-high 22 points and 12 boards. His partner Norman Blick, formerly with Power, ended a fluctuating first season on 20 points and eight assists.
The next few months will offer answers on where the Miracle go from here. If Warriors win today, the league will have the same men’s finalists for a third successive season. UCU will be nervy to see if centre Robert Ogweno recovers to lead their charge to a first appearance in the finals.

28 November 2011

UGANDA : Warriors force Game 5 against depleted UCU

Warriors have numerous match winners but Sam Gombya was the unlikeliest last man standing against UCU Canons on Saturday night.

Gombya scored 16 points and six rebounds to give Warriors a 105-95 victory in double overtime and force a decisive Game Five tomorrow in this pulsating MTN-Fuba League semifinal series. He only came on in overtime because the former champions were left with no options as both benches wore thin.
UCU finally paid for their thinness, finishing the game with only three players – Sande Okot, Sudi Ulanga and Geoffrey Omondi (19 points) – all guards. Michael Kariuki, Brian Gumisiriza, Ivan Enabu, Henry and Eric Malinga fouled out too for Warriors.
“This was crazy,” Warriors coach Mandy Juruni said. “Never seen anything like this.”
Both teams finished the four periods at 72-up as the jittery university side squandered a five-point lead (72-67) heading into the final minute. Enabu, scoring a game-high 27 points for his best figures of the series, perfected four on the line to pull within one. UCU lost the edge when Ulanga missed two from the foul line thereafter. Kariuki also did the same with six seconds on the clock despite celebrating before his attempts.

Henry, 23 points and 15 rebounds, gave Kariuki reprieve and punished the crowd, largely partisan for the underdogs, by nailing one. Overtime had arrived. That became the Gombya show to separate the drained sides. The tallest and fans’ favourite did with two slam dunks.
Without inside players Jachin Wettstone (13-10), Martin Okwako (14-9), Naftary Msogoti (7-7) and Desmond Owili (3), ejected earlier, UCU were helpless. The knee injury centre Robert Ogweno suffered last Wednesday haunted them. “I hope he can play soon,” UCU coach Nick Natuhereza said.
Players and fans were understandably sapped. No team has won subsequent games.
M: UCU 95-105 Warriors (2OT)
(Series tied 2-2)
Div. 2: Rez Life 80-74 UCU JV
(Rez Life win series 2-1)
Div. 3: Shooters 52-53 City Oil
(City Oil win series 2-0)

KENYA : KPA have one hand on trophy

Kenya Ports Authority women got one hand on the National Classic basketball league trophy after trouncing their bogey team Eagle Wings 53-46 in the first leg of the finals at Mombasa Sports Club on Sunday.

It was, indeed, sweet revenge for the dockwomen, who lost to Wings in the first leg of the regular season in Nairobi and now only need to win in the city to cling onto the trophy they reclaimed from the same team last year.
While Wings tactician Thomas Smarts Olumbo said his players had a bad day in office, generally playing very badly, KPA, who had a very poor show against Sprite Storms at the same venue a week ago in a match they could have lost, led the encounter throughout.
“We played badly today and there is no way we could have won this game,” Olumbo said. “We however promise to turn the tables on them in Nairobi.”

Wings played without influential forward Caroline Majeng Achieng, who will be undergoing a shoulder surgery in a fortnight as they went down 12-10 in the first quarter and plumetted further in the second when they scored only five points, KPA outscoring them 15-05 for a 27-15 half-time score.
Yvonne Akinyi, Helen Oketch and ageless Joyce Makhungu contributed vital points and assists.
However, in the last two quarters Wings turned the heat on the hosts, winning the third 14-11 and cutting KPA’s 12-point lead in the fourth to minus two.
Helen Oketch top-scored for KPA with 11 points while Yvonne Akinyi and Joyce Makhungu added 10 and eight, respectively.
Eagle Wings face KPA in basketball play-offs finals
International Silalei Shani contributed 13 points for Wings while her national team colleagues Angela Okoth and Samba Mjomba hit 10 and eight.
The return matches are set for Thursday and Friday night before KPA depart for the Africa Women Club championships in Nigeria.

27 November 2011

KENYA : Champions Coop walk past Docks men, KPA ladies silence wings

KPA were no match to defending champions COOP bank in a one sided semi-final game played at the Nyayo gymnasium on Saturday. Conspicuously missing from the dock men side was their star guard Dan Okwiri and forward Fredrick Otieno both whose absence was greatly felt by a KPA side that struggled to match the bankers in the entire game.

The bankers never allowed the visitors chance throughout the game beating them in all at 23-15, 14-13, 20-14 and 25-20 respectively ending the game 82-62 with a great touch of champions blended with experience and skills
The bankers will now KCB Lions who lacked opponents in the semi-finals following the withdrawal of Ulinzi Warriors. Peter Kiganya and Abel Nson each nailed 15 points for the winners while Martin Gitonga bagged 18 points for KPA.

In Mombasa at the Sports Club, coach Antony Ojukwu’s KPA Ladies laid a first finger on this year’s trophy after beating former champions and their last season opponents in the finals 53-46 in a game where the hosts won the first and second quarters at 12-10 and 15-5 but lost the third and fourth 11-14 and 15-17 respectively. They still cannot celebrate juts yet but will wait for the second game on 10th that if they don’t win they extend the finals to the third game. Evergreen guard Hellen Oketch burried 14 points for the dock women while Shani Silale had 12 points for Wings.

NIGERIA : First Deep Water Hosts Africa Female Championship

Fortune may have smiled on Nigeria's reigning basketball club queens, First Deep Water Female Basketball Club of Lagos to make hay on the African scene, as the club, in conjunction with the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF will now host the African Champions Club Cup for women here in Lagos from December 4 to 10 at the National Stadium, Lagos.

The development followed the sudden withdrawal of initial host Cameroon. Speaking in Lagos, Babatunde Babalola, Managing Director of First Deep Water Discovery Ltd, owners of the club, said " our company had to respond to the plea from FIBA-AFRICA to host the championship in view of Cameroon's decline and when they got negative responses from two organisations in Nigeria.
We decided to bail out Africa to host it to demonstrate our commitment to the development of female basket ball in Nigeria and West Africa. By implication, we are giving an assurance to Nigerians that we will do our best, provide the resources so we can host a successful championship that Africans and FIBA-AFRICA will be proud of,"he stressed.
Though the NBBF is the host federation, Babalola pledged that his company would provide the financial support that will make the event fruitful.
While the Nigerian champions continue to train for the event under the watchful eyes of ex-international coaches Lati Erifolarin and Bola Oguanade, they face a tough challenge for the title from a strong field of amazon clubs in the continent such as former champions, First Bank and current cup holders Inter-club and Maculosso, both of Angola, Arc-en-ciel of Congo DR, O.C.E of Algeria, Ports Authority of Kenya, First Bank of Nigeria and I.N.J.S of Cameroon who withdrew from hosting the championship to give First Deep Water the golden chance.

26 November 2011

LESOTHO : Basketball clashes promise fireworks

By Nthako Majoro

MASERU-The National Basketball League moves into top gear tomorrow with teams playing their last, first-leg matches at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru.

Current log-leaders, Shines, face Lerotholi Polytechnic Basketball Club, while second-placed KTA All Stars take-on Roma Boys and Bashana Baeso at 11:15am and 1:30pm, respectively.
Shines top the log-standings with 12 points after six outings, while KTA All Stars are running them close at 11 points from the same number of matches. LP, as Lerotholi Polytechnic Basketball Club are famously known, Roma Boys and Bashana Baeso go into the weekend matches lying on position four, six and five with 10, 7 and 8 points, respectively.
In other basketball league matches set for tomorrow at the same venue, Rovers meet rookies Mafokotsane Slammers and Limkokwing University Basketball Club respectively, while again, both LP and Roma Boys also lock horns with Lesedi at 12:45 and 15:00, respectively.
According to the Lesotho Basketball Association competitions manager, Bokang Sehlabaka, competition is expected to be tougher come tomorrow, as the teams aim to finish the first leg fixtures on a high note. “The spirit among our teams is very high, with each aiming to finish the first leg ties on a high note. And this promises a tough competition,” said Sehlabaka.

NIGERIA : Olaniyan Tourney Ends In Lagos

The 8th Olaniyan Basketball Championship ended in Lagos at the weekend with University of Lagos International School emerging the winners in the male’s category, while Ajibade Secondary School, Maryland won female’s category.

The championship, which was held at the basketball court of Victory Grammar School, Maryland saw Unilag International School beating Ilupeju Grammar School 36-11 points, while Ajibade Secondary School disgraced Victory Grammar School in a game that ended 11-0 points.
The final ceremony was colourful as students from 16 Schools that took part in the tourney were in attendance to grace the closing ceremony.
Speaking after his team were decorated with gold medals, Chief Coach of the Unilag International School, Oyewole Adebiyi, said the victory was well deserved having lost to their opponents in the last Lagos Milo Secondary Schools. He said his players played to instructions, which earned them the victory
“I am happy that we had a sweet revenge over Ilupeju Grammar School, who defeated us at the last Milo Secondary School. It was a tough match for my team, but I thank God that we overcame our opponents,” he said.
Coach of Ilupeju Grammar School, Adebayo Ademisoye, congratulated their opponents for the victory. He admitted that his team were outplayed, saying that Unilag International School deserved to be crowned as the champions.
Cup donor, Chief Christian Olaniyan, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the schools that took part in the championship. He urged corporate organisations in the country to support school sports.
— Sunday Akintoye

UGANDA : UCU-Warriors: Win or burst in reverse roles

At the same stage last year, UCU Canons were fighting to stay alive in the MTN-Fuba League best-of-five semifinal playoff series against Warriors.
UCU, 64-61 winners of Game One then, had plummeted to lose the next two 66-70 and 49-96.
Game Four was make or break. The university side came out triumphant 74-68 to force a decider. The roles have been reversed for today’s repeat of that clash at YMCA court. UCU lead Warriors 2-1 and the latter have been out of depth, especially in the two defeats.
Warriors’ coach Mandy Juruni would love to say the same things UCU coach Nick Natuhereza said prior to Game Four. “I told my players to keep believing,” Natuhereza said almost 12 months ago.
After the 78-66 loss in Game Three on Wednesday, Warriors stayed in the late night YMCA cold for an autopsy. Belief and reminding the players about how good they are were the big themes in the huddle.

This is the point where UCU have so often tripped. They have never reached the finals despite three semifinal appearances in the past four years. Guard Ivan Enabu, a Canon for six years before joining Warriors this year, knows how it feels to hinge a season on one result.
   “It’s a tight situation. Even after being here so many times, the challenge is not any easier,” Enabu said. “I support the UCU ladies (already in the final) and Warriors now.”
His game has suffered due to the brutal physicality of his former side. Enabu has scored 30 points and seven assists in three games.
Ronnie Kasewu, the 2009 MVP, is also having a quiet series and this could be his last chance to explode. Even if Juruni thinks his guards are not creating plays, it’s the dominance of UCU’s big men trident of Jachin Wettstone, Desmond Owili and Robert Ogweno that should worry him most. UCU out-rebounded Warriors 70-36 in Game One, were edged out 21-33 thereafter but returned to their best to dominate 49-36 on Wednesday night.
Luckily for Warriors, UCU’s Wettstone, Ogweno and Sande Okot continue to invite foul trouble - something that has gone unpunished by Warriors.
Somehow, Enabu and Henry Malinga have been dragged there too.

BOTSWANA : Basketball championship to go ahead without a sponsor

The semi-finals of the National Basketball Championships kick off tonight at the University of Botswana (UB) Courts without a sponsor, the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) has said.

Last year the tournament was sponsored by Broadhurst Inn and Northern Fixtures, but there have been no backers this year, BBA representative, Kabo Khama said. Khama said they started looking for sponsorship earlier than usual and approached more companies, but were unlucky.

Maybe we can also be blamed for not branding the tournament enough, but then again branding also depends on funds of which we do not have," he said. However, a positive is that the top four teams will be playing in new uniforms, courtesy of local sports wear brand, Dlala. The top four teams are 2011 league champions- Troopers, Spartans, Flames and Police in the order they finished on the log. Meanwhile, the semi-finals, which will be played on a best of three format, kick off at 7pm. The first game pits defending champions Troopers against Police, whilst Spartans take on Flames at 9pm. The tournament continues tomorrow. Khama said if the teams win one game against each other on both days they would face each other on Sunday. "If Flames and Spartans draw then their decider game would be played at 9am, while a draw between Troopers and Police would see them play their decider in the evening," he said.It would be anybody's games as Troopers, though remaining dominant, have not been at their best. Troopers were unconvincing in most of their league games this season.Flames are the most improved side and pose a threat to Troopers' dominance. It is the first time that they make the top four. League runners-up Spartans have been consistent throughout the season, while Police re unpredictable. The two teams that win this weekend will clash in the final next weekend. BDF V and Police V women's teams are through to the finals. The women's game promises to be a thriller as the teams have exchanged the title in the past two years.

The semi-finals of the National Basketball Championships kick off tonight at the University of Botswana (UB) Courts without a sponsor, the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) has said. Last year the tournament was sponsored by Broadhurst Inn and Northern Fixtures, but there have been no backers this year, BBA representative, Kabo Khama said. Khama said they started looking for sponsorship earlier than usual and approached more companies, but were unlucky.
Maybe we can also be blamed for not branding the tournament enough, but then again branding also depends on funds of which we do not have," he said. However, a positive is that the top four teams will be playing in new uniforms, courtesy of local sports wear brand, Dlala. The top four teams are 2011 league champions- Troopers, Spartans, Flames and Police in the order they finished on the log. Meanwhile, the semi-finals, which will be played on a best of three format, kick off at 7pm.

The first game pits defending champions Troopers against Police, whilst Spartans take on Flames at 9pm. The tournament continues tomorrow. Khama said if the teams win one game against each other on both days they would face each other on Sunday. "If Flames and Spartans draw then their decider game would be played at 9am, while a draw between Troopers and Police would see them play their decider in the evening," he said.It would be anybody's games as Troopers, though remaining dominant, have not been at their best.
Troopers were unconvincing in most of their league games this season.Flames are the most improved side and pose a threat to Troopers' dominance. It is the first time that they make the top four. League runners-up Spartans have been consistent throughout the season, while Police re unpredictable.
The two teams that win this weekend will clash in the final next weekend. BDF V and Police V women's teams are through to the finals. The women's game promises to be a thriller as the teams have exchanged the title in the past two years.

25 November 2011

KENYA : Eagle Wings head to Mombasa - KPA not ready to entertain them

It will be a repeat of last year’s finals when Eagle Wings travel down coast to Mombasa to take on their hosts KPA in the Kenya Basketball Federation Play offs finals. The first of the best of three match between the two rivals will be played at the KPA Makande Hall on Saturday afternoon with the defending champions KPA keen not to repeat last year’s mistake of allowing the Eagle soar in their territory.

KPA dethroned Eagle Wings (2009) champions to lift the 2010 title after a 2-1 win in the play offs. But they struggled in the second two matches away in Nairobi to beat the 2009 champions 2-1 after losing the first match in Mombasa at their own backyard.
KPA’s Hellen Oketch is confident her team is well prepared to clip the wings of the Eagle this time round with a comfortable home win. “We have prepared well and it is a must win for us here at home. Last year’s loss was devastating but we overcame it in the return leg matches in Nairobi. This time we have to start it right by taking advantage of our home court.” She said.
"We are going out full blast on them because we know what they can do if left unchecked.They should not expect an easy ride and we will not entertain them, maybe after the match." Warned Oketch.
To book a finals ticket, KPA overcame Storms with a 2-0 win while Eagle Wings easily cruised past USIU Flames 2-0 in the semi finals play offs last weekend.
The second and third play off matches between the two sides will be played in Nairobi but after KPA returns from the FIBA African Club championship to be played in Nigeria starting 4th of December.

NAMIBIA : Basketball Goes Big

Namibia will become the first African nation to host the 3x3 FIBA International Basketball Tournament that will be held at Augustineum on 3 and 4 December.

Namibia was in the running to host the tournament after submitting much needed background information about the country, basketball, infrastructure and history. FIBA was persuaded by the work around basketball development in Namibia at community level.
"This approach at the grassroots level fits very well with the mission of FIBA whose principal goal is to see the development of 3x3 tournaments throughout the country," the Namibian Basketball Federation said in a statement.
Should Namibia host this tournament successfully, the country stands a chance of hosting the World African qualifiers and the World tour in 2012.President of the Namibian Basketball Federation, Kerii Tjitendero could not contain his excitement that FIBA, the international governing body of basketball had chosen "small Namibia to host such a progressive tournament."
FIBA secretary general, Patrick Baumann said the 3x3 version of the sport is the epitome of basketball and that professionalising this stream would open a lot of doors for countries to make it to the international stage of basketball.
"It will give access to elite competitions to countries that would not necessarily have the chance to compete at the top international level, as is the case for Namibia and many of our 213 member federations."
"Knowing the pool of young talent performing on all African playgrounds - we are confident that this outdoor discipline is a great opportunity for Namibia, and African basketball in general."

UGANDA : Power, Miracle face off, UCU stroll over Kyambogo

FUBA play-offs results

Men, Game 3
Warriors 66 Canons 78
(UCU lead series 2-1)
Canons 86 Stormers 45
(Canons win series 3-0)
Today, Game 3
Men, 9pm
Power v Miracle Eagles
Women, 7pm
KCC v Magic Stormers

POWER tied their playoff semifinal series against the Miracle Eagles with victory in Game 2 Tuesday but it is Bernice Ankunda’s team that enter today’s Game 3 with the obvious tactical task.
Power’s victory averted the horrific scenario of a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-five series but it left the reigning FUBA men’s champions with one unanswered question. Can they beat the 2-3 zonal defence?
“It exposed us,” said Power coach Nkunda of the defensive formation that helped Miracle reduce a 17-point second-half deficit. “We are not invincible. But we have been working on how to beat it.”
Miracle have been the better side in this series, having blown out Power in Game 1 before losing by two points in Game 2 and Joe Burua’s team will certainly turn to the defensive strategy that proved so successful three days ago. Miracle’s success has been in line with what’s panning out in the other semifinal series, where the pre-playoff underdog is calling the shots.
In fact, the UCU Canons took a 2-1 series lead Wednesday over the Kyambogo Warriors after claiming a 78-66 victory in Game 3 at YMCA.
The prodigious Sudi Ulanga dropped a game-high 24 points for the physical UCU, who never trailed after winning the first quarter 26-18. Martin Okwako registered his second double double of the series with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Robert Ogweno and Jachin Wettstone combined for 23 points and 18 rebounds.
Ronnie Kasewu grabbed 10 points and 10 rebounds for Kyambogo, who appear incapable of matching UCU’s physical treatment, especially on the post.
Eric Malinga, Jude Ochen and Ivan Enabu added to 14, 10 and 10 points respectively for Kyambogo.

Meanwhile, Lorraine Akinyi bagged a game-high 20 points and 19 rebounds as the UCU Lady Canons thumped the Magic Stormers 86-45 to book their place in the women’s finals.
Peace Proscovia, Maureen Amoding, Purity Odhiambo and Brenda Mbone added 15, 15, 12 and 10 points respectively as the Canons completed the predicted 3-0 sweep over Magic.
Sylvia Kaweesa was Stormers top-scorer with 16 points.

24 November 2011

UGANDA : Power hold on to level series

Tuesday night is the closest this year’s MTN-Fuba League playoffs have come to delivering overtime so far. The last part of DMark Power-Miracle Eagles was deservedly watched standing at YMCA Court.

The curtain fell with Power edging Miracle Eagles 65-63 to level the five-game series at 1-1. Miracle’s Colin Mukiza thought he had delivered five extra minutes only for a review by the match commissar to rule out his lay-up.
The buzzer had gone before Mukiza’s attempt as the champions held on. Mukiza (9) was only rescuing an air ball from Norman Blick, who struggled with his shot on the night. The ex-Power star sunk only two of 11 attempts from downtown.

The emotions swung endlessly. With 35 seconds to play, Miracle led 63-62. It wouldn’t have come to this. Steely defence and quickness compounded by poor execution from Miracle had given Power control with entertainment aplenty.
They won the first period 15-7 and grew a 16-point lead at the interval. When Miracle started the third quarter by committing four straight turnovers, there was every reason to leave. No one did.
   “We made it hard for ourselves,” Power coach Bernice Ankunda said. Stephen Omony led the revival with a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Norman, the architect of the Game One 80-65 victory three days prior, was a near-villain. His 13 points came with nine turnovers. Ben Komakech dropped a team-high 14.
Power will look back at making only four of 14 from the foul line. This series looks destined for a decisive game five unlike the women’s one in which KCC took a 2-0 lead with a 60-38 crushing of KIU Rangers. Leopards now need one more victory to make the final

UGANDA : Lugogo evokes memories of a ‘Zephar’

Just as the heavens started holding up for basketball playoffs to go ahead unhindered, the anger about the continued closure of Lugogo Indoor Stadium is a thing of the past.

Last Friday, fury filled the outdoor YMCA court over Lugogo grew as soon as the Game One of Warriors-UCU was abandoned. Many outdoor sports have been affected by this prolonged rainy season. Rage is bound to return when another game faces the same fate. Local basketball body Fuba was so lucky with the weather last year. Lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Two years ago, a dilapidated Lugogo was closed to undergo renovation at a widely reported Shs1.7bn.
Today, Lugogo, whose repair costs were met by MTN, through National Council of Sports (NCS), is closed with no reopening in sight. It can easily be equated to a car with a fresh coat of paint and an old engine.

The roof looks good, the entrance is colourful, the compound green and the lavatories more reliable than before. The beautiful ‘Zephar’ is parked in the corner, not fit enough for a Friday night drive. A concrete surface and unrecognisable work is nothing to be pleased with. Following a near 12-month construction, it was briefly opened for last year’s seven-game final series.
The surface looked horrible, undulating to say the least. Prior to the third game between DMark Power and Warriors, it was closed again to sort out the shortfalls in the initial overhaul. YMCA, an eternal partner, offered an escape route.Another 12 months on and it remains closed with only registration for the marathon taking place in its vicinity. No one offers any kind of explanation. NCS general secretary Jasper Aligawesa has often pushed the reopening from August to September to October to no date in particular.
It’s becoming an illusion. Rumour has it that the latest reason is the unavailability of funds to fly in Dutch engineers to fix the floor. Something is definitely not right with the way the Lugogo issue has been handled. Companies want their projects to be done with perfection and a sports venue should be no exception. Cleanliness is wanted but I guess its time Fuba find the guts to build a permanent home.
For now, Aligawesa will find himself definitely taking the blame but it’s mainly because not even half the truth can be found

23 November 2011

KENYA : Top club from South Sudan here for build-up duels .

TOP South Sudan basketball club Bilfam are in the country for a series of friendly matches. According to Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) secretary Vitalis Gode, the visitors arrived in Nairobi on Monday from Uganda,  where they also held a number of build-up matches. During their tour, the visitors will open their build-up matches against lower division Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) today. They will also face reigning men’s champions Co-operative Bank of Kenya and wind up with a match against former national champions KCB Lions. Meanwhile, the annual Jamhuri basketball tournament will be staged in Mombasa on December 10-11. The two-day festival will be held at the Mombasa Sports Club and Baptist High School courts respectively. According to KBF, participation fee is Sh3,500 and the teams are expected to confirm entry two days before the tournament throws off in the coastal city.

NIGERIA : Customs Back in Dstv Sponsored League

After spending one season in the lower division, Nigeria Customs Service basketball club is back into the top flight DStv Premier Basketball League. They bounced back into the league after winning the national division-one championship last weekend in Abuja.

The border boys who were among the three teams that jostled for a place in the Premier League rounded off stiff challenge from Police Bombers of Lagos and Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan before stopping the foray of Nigeria Civil Defence Corp otherwise known as Defenders basketball club of Abuja in the final on Saturday.Customs, who were coached in the Division-One championship by its assistant coach Mohammed 'Jagu' Abbah first handed a 68-57 points defeat of Police Bombers and followed up with a 84-57 points victory over Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan and completed its ambition of returning to the Premier League with a 77-59 points win over the Defenders of Abuja who also got a slot in the Premier League.
Customs who will campaign in the Atlantic conference replaces demoted Delta Force of Asaba while Defenders of Abuja will take the place of relegated Plateau Peaks of Jos in the Savannah conference of the 2011/2012 season.
Coach Abbah said the entire management of the NCS was happy with the team's return to the top league. Customs now increase the number of Lagos-based Atlantic conference teams to seven, others in the conference include Union Bank, Comets, Dodan Warriors, Police Baton, Islanders and Chariots while league champion Royal Hoopers basketball club of Port Harcourt remains the only side in the conference that is based outside Lagos.
In the Savannah conference, Defenders join Kano Pillars, Immigration, Kada Stars, Bauchi Nets, Yelwa Hawks, Tapgun Rockets and Niger Potters.

UGANDA : Warriors ready to go physical

Today at YMCA
M: Warriors v UCU (9pm)
(Series tied 1-1)
W: UCU v Stormers (7pm)
(UCU lead series 2-0)

Div. 2: UCU JV 51-64 Rez Life
(Series tied 1-1)
Div. 3: Bush Court 91-85 K’la Univ.
(Bush Court win series 2-0)

On an evening when UCU Lady Canons can seal their place in the MTN-Fuba League finals, their male counterparts, UCU Canons, will be jostling for control of their own series with Warriors.
The women’s champions are on the brink of sweeping playoff debutants Magic Stormers. UCU comprehensively won the opening two games, 66-36 and 75-35, to assume a 2-0 lead in the five-match semifinal series.
Size has greatly contributed to the gulf between the two sides. The UCU ladies’ trio of Purity Odhiambo, Lorraine Akinyi and Peace Proscovia has dominated the inside so much.
Neither Warriors nor UCU can claim the same ahead of Game Three at YMCA court today (Wednesday). “The physicality of the games is proving to be key,” Warriors coach Mandy Juruni said after his side tied the series at 1-1 in a brutal contest on Sunday night.

“If they (UCU) get physical, we should also do the same.” Jachin Wettstone, Desmond Owili and Robert Ogweno have matched Warriors’ Malinga brothers, Eric and Henry, and Michael Kariuki leap-for-leap.
Nick Natuhereza, the UCU coach, is not passing any message of caution to his big men even though Ogweno and Wettstone fouled out in losing Game Two 74-84. Ogweno had scored 23 points, two less than Eric’s game-high score.
“We are definitely bigger than them so whenever a small and big man fight (for possession), the referee will favour the small player,” Natuhereza reasoned. “We must keep playing aggressive and only avoid the fouls we can avoid.”
It’s been this kind of story for them in games against Warriors this season with the exception of the 65-52 victory in Game One with Sande Okot and Desmond Owili being the other regular culprits.
The guards’ roles have been greatly lessened with Ivan Enabu, Ronnie Kasewu Jude Ochen and Pascal Alule combining for 39 points and 18 assists for Warriors in the playoffs so far. UCU’s Sudi Ulanga, Okot and Geoff Omondi have a grand total of 52 points and 14 assists.

22 November 2011

NIGERIA : Basketball Will Rival Football, Says Ahmedu

Sam Ahmedu, proprietor of Lagos-based Dodan Warriors Basketball Club said on Monday in Eket, that basketball has the potential to rival football in popularity in the country.

Ahmedu, a retired army colonel, said that the sport was making steady progress in its development in the country.
He said, however, that poor administration had adversely been affecting the fortunes of basketball.
"There is no doubt that football is the most popular sport in Nigeria. However, basketball is holding its own high.
"This is particularly against the back ground that among the sportsmen that have really lifted Nigeria in the world scene, basketball has played a very prominent role.
"Hakeem Olajuwon is a worldwide name in sports; through basketball, he has elevated our country's name to the very higher level and our teams have been doing well internationally.
Ahmedu noted that the country had won many laurels internationally in the sport.
"We have gone to the world championships so many times, we have won African championships many times.
"However, within the past three years our standard seems to be going down because the body we have in place don't seem to have the knack or the know-how to lead us in the right direction to be able to improve on what we had attained in the past, and we believe that with proper management we should be able to rival football."
Ahmedu said that poor performance of sports administrators cut across various games and sports federations including football.
He blamed the development on the involvement of politicians, who had no passion for sports in sports administration.
The Dodan Warriors proprietor said such administrators were only interested in making money at the detriment of the game, resulting in declining performance of sports.
Ahmedu, then, advised that only people with passion for sports and technical know how should be allowed to run sports in the country.

KENYA : Mombasa Sports won the Coast Basketball League

Mombasa Sports Club's women's basketball team won the Coast Basketball League at the weekend by thrashing Mombasa Polytechnic University College 71-17 at the Mombasa Baptist High School.

While Mombasa Sports Club were celebrating the title they last won in 2009, Makupa Lakers maintained a tight grip on the men's trophy by beating hard-fighting Mombasa Baptist High School 65-58 in a tension-charged match which could have gone either way.
The ladies final as expected was once again a one sided affair as Mombasa Sports club, mostly comprising of players from Unicef sponsored Shimba Hills Secondary School ladies basketball team, dominated the final from the word go and never looked back.

MSC started well with Primrose Asurra, Margaret Ndirangu and Evelyn Atieno combining well for a huge 19 - 00 first quarter lead but made changes in the second quarter allowing the polytechnic students back into the game for 9-4 score to lead 28-04 at the break.
Backed by 18ts from Ndirangu and 10 points from Mercy Jerotich, M.S.C exploded in the third quarter.

KENYA : Wings book final play-off date with KPA .

EAGLE Wings will meet reigning champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the 2011 women’s play-off finals. Wings shut out United States International University (USIU) 85-54 in Game Two at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium. Wings had punished the 52-42  Game One the previous day. Led by three national team players, Wings had 23 points from Silalei Agalo, Samba Mjomba (20) and Angela Okoth (15) while Debrah Chan was the highest scorer for the losers with 14. In Game Two, USIU  were down 19-40 at the break.  At the Mombasa Sports Club, KPA dismissed Sprite Storms 42-32 as Joyce Makungu and Miriam Owuor combined for the dock women’s 17 points. Angela Luchivya posted the visitors 10. Reigning men champions Co-operative Bank of Kenya survived a KPA tide to nip the home side 64-61. Salim Ali shot 17 points, Peter Kiganya (15) and Titus Musembi who made the difference late in the game sunk 12. The lower division match at University of Nairobi “Terrorists” beat Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) 51-46. Bill Oketch bagged 14 and Brian Obimbo 12 for the victors. NAC had 16 from Ben Oluoch and 12 from Geoffrey Ssozi.

21 November 2011

NIGERIA : Customs Emerge Division One Champions

Nigeria Customs men's basketball team on Saturday beat the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) 77-59 to emerge the 2011 champions of the National Division One tournament.

The match, played at the indoor hall of the National Stadium, Abuja, concluded the championship which began on Nov. 14.
Both teams had earlier qualified for the 2012 DSTV/NBBF Premier League by picking the two available tickets after winning their respective groups in the eight-team championship.
Nigeria Customs had on Thursday won the three-team Atlantic Conference Group, while the 'Defenders of Abuja', as the NSCDC team are fondly called by their fans, topped the five-team Savannah Conference Group.
In the final game, Nigeria Customs took an early lead, winning the first quarter 19-8, while the Defenders rallied back in the second quarter.
In spite of the stiff opposition from the NSCDC, the Nigeria Customs led 40-22 at half-time.
The third quarter saw the Defenders fighting gallantly to reduce the margin, although still trailing the Customs 39-55.
However, the Lagos-based Nigeria Customs played better in the final quarter to clinch the game.
At the end of the game, Nigeria Customs' Coach, Scott Nnaji, said that the outcome was a reflection of his team's superiority over the other teams in the championship.
"I can agree that our performance dipped during the game, but we still showed the stuff we are made of as the best team at this championship," he said.
Coach Tope Olowosulu of the Defenders said he was happy as his team "still gave a very good fight" in the match to show their quality.
"We still gave a very good fight in a very tight competition and this has showed that we are not champions of our group by default.
"We, however, give the glory to God for this opportunity, and we hope to do better in the future," he said.

NIGERIA : Defenders Pick NBBF Premier League Ticket

Defenders basketball club of Abuja have won the remaining ticket to the 2012 DSTV/Nigerian Basketball Premier League.

The Abuja-based team, owned by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), achieved this on Friday by winning the Savannah Conference Group of the 2011 National Basketball Division One Championship.
They will be replacing Plateau Peaks in the Premier League's Savannah Conference next season after the Jos team were relegated at the end of last season.
The Defenders thus joined the Nigeria Customs who had on Thursday qualified for the Premier League after topping the Atlantic Conference Group of the national championship.
The championship is the avenue for lower league teams to seek a place in the Premier League.
It was not an easy feat for the Defenders as they finished with seven points from four matches alongside two others, Benue Braves of Makurdi and the FCT Rocks of Abuja.
The Defenders, however, triumphed on the basis of their results against the two teams.
In the final group matches played on Friday, the Defenders beat AHIP Giants of Kano 79-58, while Benue Braves of Makurdi defeated Kada Princes of Kaduna 80-51.
In the final classification for the group, Benue Braves finished second, FCT Rocks third, Kada Princes fourth and AHIP Giants fifth.
Nigeria Customs of Lagos had topped the Atlantic Conference Group, with the Police Bombers of Abuja finishing second and the Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan third.
The competition ends on Saturday with the Atlantic Conference Group winners, Nigeria Customs, taking on the Savannah Conference Group winners, the Defenders.
The match will determine the winners of the championship.

UGANDA : Blick Inspires Miracle, UCU Shock Warriors in Playoffs

NORMAN Blick dropped a game high 19 points and eight assists for the Miracle Eagles as his side registered their first win against D-Mark Power 80-65 in the 14 year history of Ugandan basketball.

"It was a pretty game and we knew we had to step up tonight (Saturday), exhibit composure and maturity to avoid lapses in the last quarter," explained a contented Blick.
A perfect shooting on the free throw line by Miracle's team captain Stephen Omony at 11 for 11 was just enough to give Eagles' coach Joe Burua a welcome back note. Burua has been away for over a month due to work commitments.
Miracle outscored Power in the first two quarters 18-11 and 14-10 but Power recovered to dominate the third quarter 20-16. The usual disastrous fourth quarter saw the Eagles sink 32 against Power's 24.
Just two weeks ago, Miracle gave away a 60-43 lead at the end of the third quarter to grant Power a fourth quarter 27-6 victory and eventually win 70-66.
Francis Kasekende and Edwin Kateregga added 17 and 10 points for Miracle while Jimmy Enabu and Ben Komakech made 13 and 12 points for D-Mark Power.
Power's Emmanuel Enabu who made only three points said, "It was just a bad day in office."
Meanwhile, UCU's American 6.9ft forward Jachin Wettstone dominated the boards for the Canons picking an amazing 20 rebounds and scoring nine points to shock title favourites-the Kyambogo Warriors 65-52 in Game One of the semi-final playoffs.
Canons' Martin Okwako and Desmond Owili registered a double double each with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 12 points, 11 rebounds respectively as teammates Sudi Ulanga and Sunday Okot added 12 and 10 points in that order to inspire the university side. Robert Ogweno also picked 13 rebounds for the Canons.
Warriors Eric Malinga sunk a game high 19 points as teammate and former Canon Ivan Enabu was limited to only 11 points.

FUBA league playoffs
Game One
Men, Division 1
D-Mark Power 65 Miracle 80
Warriors 52 UCU Canons 65
Division 2
Rez Life 56 UCU JV 60
Division 3
Kampala University 50 Bushcourt 65
KCC Leopards 70 KIU Rangers 58

Division 2
UCU JV v Rez Life -9pm
Division 3
Kampala University v Bushcourt -7pm

KENYA : Co-op Bank brave Mombasa heat to beat hosts KPA .

Co-operative Bank braved Mombasa heat to beat hosts Kenya Ports Authority 64-61 in the Kenya Basketball Federation first semi final play-off match at the Mombasa Sports Club. The hosts took a 17-9 lead into the first quarter but the bankers kept their cool to over turn the scoring in the second and third quarters, tying the match 54-54. A hard tackle by Fred Odongo on Titus Kioko saw Kioko bag maximum points to break the tie and improve his sides’ victory prospects.

And 45 seconds to the final whistle, the match resulted into sea-saw duel with both sets of spectators cheering their teams. Former KPA player Peter Kiganya’s efforts to narrow the gap against his old team through three points shot were futile. But the dockers were frustrated by former Mombasa Aga Khan Secondary School’s Salim Ali, who penetrated their defence with ease to collect two free shots. KPA will have to blame themselves after Eugene Genga failed to utilise a last minute double free shots after he was fouled in the box. Earlier on, KPA women had out played Sprite Storms 42-33 at the same venue.

Meanwhile, EAGLE Wings beat United States International University (USIU) 52-41 in a women’s play-off semi finals Game One at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium. The former champions trailed 10-1 in the first quarter before recovering to take the second 16-9. At the break, they were up 26-20.
After resumption, the winners managed a 15-9 edge before the students charged 12-11 in the last quarter. National team players, Silalei Shani and Samba Mjomba collected 14 and nine points for the winners respectively. The Flames were pepped by hard working Hilda Indasi who managed game high of 15 points while Linda Mfuchi scored nine.
Strathmore University beat Gladiators 52-42 in a classification game. The Swords were ahead 30-17 at the breather and had 10 points from Denis Apondi. Th losers, who put up one of their best shows, were pepped by Getrude Sagala who nailed 19 and Dottie Owino.In the Division One semi’s played earlier, World Hope had a storming game whipping the visiting Kisumu Lakeside 75-55 to move closer to promotion to the premier league.
Morris Obilo was they key torching the Kisumu lads with 27 points while Conrad Wafula made 10. The visitors had 11 points apiece from Ben Opiyo and Romanus O’Connor. Nakuru Club failed to show up for their other semi finals against Parklands Baptists who were awarded their classification tie on 20-0 basis.

UGANDA : Inspirational Blick gives Miracle lead

Miracle Eagles beat Power 80-65 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinal playoff series at YMCA court on Saturday night, leaving the champions in an uncomfortbale situation. In the Women’s Division, KCC Leopards took a similar stride with a 70-58 victory over KIU Rangers.

The former still have major worries as guard Flavia Oketcho went off early with a minor shoulder problem.
Martha Soigi scored a game-high 22 points and 31 rebounds to stop the KIU fight back which had Judith Nanyonga score 17 off the bench in its tracks.“I have not seen us play that bad,” said Power coach Bernice Ankunda after a torrid night where they were nothing better than second best. “They (Power players) lacked confidence.” Game Two is tomorrow.

Miracle took the first quarter 18-11, the second 14-10, lost the third 16-20 and rounded off 32-24 in a high-scoring decisive period. It’s not often that Power finish games, in defeat or triumph, without many positives.
They have lots to think about. They lost the rebound contest 24-44, shot only 17 of 43 from the field and managed three of 25 from downtown. Power were as bad as Miracle were brilliant. Stephen Omony made a double-double. The Miracle skipper scored 19 points and 10 rebounds including a perfect 11 from 11 on the foul line. However, it was Norman Blick who really separated the sides.
Having been at Power for the past two years before crossing, Blick perhaps banked on inside knowledge to bag 19 points, five rebounds and eight assists. His importance was particularly underlined by Omony getting into early foul trouble with four in the third period and point guard Colin Mukiza being ejected.“I think we handled ourselves very well in every situation,” Blick said. Francis Kasekende added 17 and nine boards while Edwin Kateregga contributed 10 for the playoff debutants. “I have never seen such rubbish. We were pathetic. The pressure of playoffs got to us,” Ankunda summed it up. Only Jimmy Enabu (13) and Ben Komakech (12) got to double figures.

Power star Isaac Afidra equated this to his “worst game ever”. He finished with six points and looked offbeat entirely.
In the other semifinal, Warriors found themselves in a situation similar to Power’s after losing 65-52 to UCU Canons.
Game Two between the two sides was scheduled for last night

KENYA : Eagle Wings face KPA in basketball play-offs finals

Eagle Wings on Sunday qualified for the 2011 women’s basketball Premier League play-offs final after registering a 85-64 victory over Flames of the USIU-A in Game Two of the best-of-three series semi-final at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.

The victory saw Eagle Wings eliminate Flames of the USIU-A 2-0 after having won the opener 52-41 on Saturday to book a date with champions Kenya Ports Authority in the final.
It will be a repeat of last year’s final in which Eagle Wings surrendered the title they won in 2009 to KPA who beat them 2-1.
University of Nairobi’s Terrorists remained focused to return into top competition next year when they made a good start in the men’s Division One semi-final with a narrow 51-46 win over Nairobi Aviation.
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (men) and self-supporting Western Delight (women) failed to show up in their fifth and eighth position play-off matches against hosts Tiger s of the USIU-A and Co-operative Bank.
As a result, Tigers and Co-op Bank were awarded the walk-overs to grab the fifth positions in the 2011 season.
Eagle Wings were in their best form which saw Peris Magembe, Samba Mjomba and Angela Okoth punish the students with a huge 11-0 run inside the first three minutes.
Flames went dry in the opening four minutes before Barbara Kithinji’s good drive opened their score-sheet at 11-4.

Lack of coordination and turn overs cost the students as Wings flew past them 21-7 in the first quarter.

All systems go
It was all systems go for Eagle Wings, who exhibited superb team-work game to score consistently in a well balanced tie.
After leading 40-19 at half-time, Eagle Wings exploded into a huge 25 points margin (40-15) as early as in the second quarter becoming a tall order for coach George Mayienga’s students to erase the gap.
Silalei Shani scored game-high 23 points, Mjomba hit 20 while Angela Okoth shot 15 for the winners with Debora Chani, who contributed to Flames tying third quarter (21-21), replied with 14 points.

20 November 2011

UGANDA : Power and Warriors on course for finale

Written by Felix Eupal
With the post-season finally here, the most eagerly anticipated phase of the basketball season starts tomorrow as Warriors take on Canons while Power squares off against Eagles.
Felix Eupal previews the best-of-five series that will separate boys from men.

Kyambogo Warriors V UCU Canons
It’s unlikely the matchup will live up to last season’s epic that stretched to five games before Warriors prevailed to the final. One thing for sure is that it will be a lively contest as long as it lasts. The Canons have struggled all season and nearly missed out on the fourth and last playoff slot.
That they also lost both regular season games to Warriors signals how one-sided this tie looks on paper. Add to the mix a depleted squad and Nick Natuhereza, the Canons coach, will need divine intervention to overcome the favourites.
The Malinga brothers Eric and Henry, alongside Michael Kariuki, are dominant in the paint, which explains why Warriors had the best defence all season.
Last weekend, Warriors edged Power to snatch the top seeding and should Warriors star man Ivan Enabu maintain his wizardry, the series could be up in just three games.
Prediction: Warriors set for clean sweep.

Dmark Power V Miracle Eagles
Against Warriors, Power conspired to let a six-point lead turn into a two-point loss with just one and a half minutes on the clock to shake their rock solid confidence. However, they have all the qualities to defend their title.
“The match was a lesson of the things we don’t need to do in the dying minutes,” says Bannes Ankunda, the Power coach.
On the other hand, Miracle may boast of the league’s two biggest names in Norman Blick and Stephen Omony, but the team has one big flaw; a lack of focus. This explains why they lost four of their last five games of the regular season.
Blick and Omony may not be enemies but neither have they ever been the best of friends, and if Miracle is to qualify for their first ever playoff final, the egoistic pair have to be hugely involved in teamwork.
Often times when Miracle is trailing, we have seen Omony abandon his biggest strength as a shooting guard and instead switch to play point guard. The confusion and lack of balance of roles best answers why they have had a poor offence this season.
Joe Burua, the Eagles coach, has to go back to the drawing board to get a formula to stop two more Enabu brothers; Jimmy and Emmanuel, who define Power’s offence.
Prediction: Power to advance 3-1

UGANDA : Rain opens Lugogo debate

M. UCU vs Warriors 8pm

W. Stormers vsUCU 6pm
Div 2. Vegetarian vs Stormers 4pm
Div 3. City Oil vs Shooters 2pm

W. UCU 75-35 Stormers
(UCU lead series 1-0)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so they say. Friday night must have left every basketball fan at YMCA court feeling the validity of this saying.
Fond memories of the reliability of the old Lugogo Indoor Stadium were quickly rekindled as Game One of the MTN-Fuba League semifinal best-of-five play-off series between Warriors and UCU Canons was abandoned due to rain.
As the female emcee did introductions of Warriors players, heavens opened with a drizzle that never looked serious. It poured and stopped on at least three occasions. Fans waited patiently. Some even picked mattresses to try and dry the outdoor court.
The futility of their efforts was confirmed at 10.23pm when a federation official announced that the game had been called off. The tarmac court was predictably slippery and dangerous, something both teams agreed to.
Ali Balunywa, the Fuba vice president (technical and competitions), delivered the inevitable but annoying news. He did this quickly with the game being pushed to last night and Game Two scheduled for this evening.

19 November 2011

KENYA : Basketball play offs enter crucial stage

Defending champions Cooperative Bank are out to defend their title and will be taking no chances when they meet KPA at Mombasa Sports Club from 4 pm on Saturday. The game pits Kenya’s most decorated players, Peter Kiganya leading the bankers while diminutive guard Dan Okwiri will lead the dock’s men. The bankers head to the coast well aware that the dock men are a hard nut to crack at their backyard and their second half of the season is a testimony of that.

Although the bankers’ boast of an experienced trio of Abel Nson, Peter Kiganya and Bobby Halwanga, the dock men will look upon their powerful forward Mitch Ocholla, Okwiri and youngster Fredrick Lugasi in game 1 of the best of three series. Technically, these two teams are undisputedly Kenya’s best with KPA being handled by Coach Anthony Ojukwu while the bankers are under the cautious eyes of Carey ‘T9’ Odhiambo.

Saturday’s clash will be won on pure grounds of who between the two top coaches will be able to Marshall his charges appropriately shelving the thought of ‘bad luck’ that some coaches have always blamed for their losses besides pointing fingers at referees.
East and Central senior clubs Women Champions and defending champions KPA also host Storms in their second game of the women semi-finals having won the first game in Nairobi. Led by Hellen Oketch, the dock women hope to wrap up the unfinished business and stride into the finals.
Former champions Eagle Wings will also be waiting for a baptism of fire when they face USIU Flames led by Hilda Indasi who are fresh from causing an upset to Strathmore Swords in the quarterfinals played a fortnight ago. The two sides will know their fate by the end of this weekend if not next weekend should they tie in game 1 and 2.

UGANDA : Miracle Eagles in unfamiliar territory


M: Power vs. Miracle (8pm)
W: KCC vs. KIU (6pm)
Div. 2: Rez Life vs. UCU JV (4pm)

Div. 3: K’la Univ. vs. Bush Court (2pm) The best-of-five MTN-Fuba League semifinal playoff series between DMark Power and Miracle Eagles is unfamiliar territory for the latter. Game One is today at YMCA. Whereas Power have won four league titles including last year’s, this will be Miracle’s first appearance in the playoffs.

This feat is inscribed in 14 years of toil. Miracle’s qualification success came at the expense of Uganda’s most successful side, Falcons, failing to make it to this stage for the very first time.
That should show the huge gap between the two especially if you factor in Power having never lost to Miracle in recent memory and completing the double over them this season.

First time

Power edged both games 96-91 and 70-66 respectively. “There is always a first time,” Chris Kyebambe, Miracle’s multi-tasking stand-in coach, team manager and player, said.
The acquisition of the illustrious Norman Blick, a four-time champion with Sky Jammers, Nkumba Marines (2) and Power, leaves them with little to fear. He and Stephen Omony know this stage more than so many in the division. These two sides, both with good depth, are similar as they rely on the back court players.
Shooting and transition basketball is their forte. Events of the past week matter little for Power as they were beaten 79-70 by visiting Sudanese side Bilfam Warriors in a friendly and Warriors (94-96).
MVP Ben Komakech normally shows up now and the 19 points in the latter game were a reminder of his abilities for team whose most consistent offensive player this season has been Isaac Luggudde.

Women’s side KCC Leopards and KIU Rangers will set the stage. KCC took both regular season games but the university side should be buoyed by the close shave in the second round where they lost 42-41. The former champions will forever point to the confidence earned from taking part in the Fiba Africa Zone V Championships in Tanzania last month. In the men’s Division Two, Rez Life have quickly rebuilt after relegation from Division One as Berkley last year to finish top.
UCU JV have a shot at successive promotions having only moved from Division Three.

18 November 2011

KENYA : KPA to Wait As Africa Show Is Pushed Back

KENYA Ports Authority (KPA) date for Africa Club Championships has once again been pushed to next month. Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko said FIBA Africa have released new dates for the10-day continental event that is slated to start on December 4 in Cameroon.

The event has attracted 12 teams. "The fact that FIBA Africa has moved the dates ahead gives us some time to continue with the play-off matches that involve KPA. The porters face Sprite Storms this weekend in Mombasa," he said. He released the play- off semi finals fixtures that will also see reigning men champions Co-operative Bank play KPA at the Mombasa Sports Club.
Other semi finals matches will see Eagle Wings take on United States International University (USIU) in the Premier League category. In the lower division semis, University of Nairobi "Terrorists" play Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) and World Hope take on Lakeside. In classification matches, Parklands Baptist face Nakuru Club, Co-op Bank (women) meet Western Delight and USIU have a date with Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology (MMUST).

UGANDA : Belief drives UCU against Warriors

Playing Today

M: Warriors vs. UCU (9pm)
W: UCU vs. Stormers (7pm)

Wednesday friendly
Power 70-79 Bilfam

Women’s League result
KIU Rangers 61-47 Mak Sparks

No team has been close enough to Warriors during the MTN-Fuba League regular season that UCU Canons know they have a gap to make up when the best-of-five semifinal play-off series start at YMCA court this evening.

The game is a repeat duel from last year which Warriors won 3-2 to progress to the finals and is preceded by a worthy starter involving women’s champions UCU Lady Canons and play-off debutants Magic Stormers.
Nicholas Natuhereza, the UCU coach, thinks a lot has changed despite losing twice to Warriors this season, 76-63 and 87-67.
   “We live and learn every day. So hopefully, we have learnt from all that,” Natuhereza said. Those lessons must take into account how to neutralise Ivan Enabu.
Enabu, who left UCU for Warriors in the off-season, has been the difference in both games this year, scoring a combined 43 points.
When they fouled him in the 87-67 victory, the guard nailed 11 of 14 free throws. “Our problem has been a small bench,” Natuhereza added.

UCU had trouble dealing with fouls in the two games against Warriors, which hurt them dearly.
Former Warrior Martin Okwako should be a primary figure in this series. His combination with Desmond Owili and Robert Ogweno should run Warriors close on the inside.
Warriors, last year’s losing finalists, have impressively used their team depth thus far. Eric Malinga and Enabu have dominated the headlines as former MVP Ronnie Kasewu flies quietly under the radar.
Warriors know they start as favourites having finished as top seed in the regular season. Their only loss in the regular season was an upset to lowly Charging Rhino.
“Play-off basketball is different. We need to manage our expectations and execute in defence and offense,” Warriors coach Mandy Juruni said.
In the women’s game, Stormers are in dreamland. Although they lost Anastia Njeri to a scholarship in the US, two-time champions UCU have the necessary experience to take care of business at this level.

17 November 2011

KENYA : Upper Hill and Safe Spaces ready for top flight league .

NAIROBI Basketball Association (NBA) Provincial League champions Upper Hill and Safe Spaces are ready for new challenges in the top league. The two teams, who gained promotion to the national Division One and women Premier League respectively said they have what it takes to survive at the top level.

The students’ tactician George Mayienga admitted surviving at the national league’s second tier would not be an easy task but exuded confidence that his boys are upto the task. “It will not be easy playing up there.
But I am ready for the challenges ahead. With the kind of players in this team, we will be up there with the best,” said Mayienga, who also guided the team to their first national schools tournament in Kakamega early this year. Spaces tactician John “Moish” Njuguna was equally upbeat. “Last year we were second in the league but could not move up due to finances.
This time we are all set and will make some few recruitments to help us stay up there,” he said. Upper Hill beat Airways 79-75 while Safe Spaces beat Africa Nazarene University (ANU) 58-46 to claim the men and women’s crowns respectively during the best of five game series.

UGANDA : A timely play-off caution to Fuba

Around this time every year, the basketball crowd swells to unseen levels. The same is bound to happen from this Friday when the MTN-Fuba Basketball League play-offs start. Tomorrow is no different as teams start the sprint to being crowned champion.

Fuba have every right to go for the financial kill having collected a reported Shs68m from last year. They may not admit as much but only way to achieve similar figures is if these play-offs go all the way like DMark Power-Kyambogo Warriors did.
That Game Seven won by Power had also been preceded by Warriors-UCU Canons semifinal being decided in a game five and Power-7UP Falcons going to four. Fuba announced that charges for this year will be Shs10, 000. Seven games imply a fan parting with Shs70, 000! If both semifinals go until game five, it adds up to Shs100, 000 since they are played on different days.

This is not considering the VIPs who must pay Shs15, 000 and players whose teams didn’t get this far ordered to pick a ticket at Shs5, 000. All this is hypothetical and there’s every reason to think it cannot happen. But then, fans are bound to take a deep though before watching the all games scheduled to finish on December 15.
Fuba might need to reconsider these fees especially for the semis. The clamour for selling the last ticket shouldn’t also compromise the eye for security which is key to spotless organisation. Fans often get in untended with the two-three policemen not doing much. This number should be increased. In a season curtailed by rain and power outages, the latter ought to be sorted.
Fuba can do so little about the weather with National Council of Sports (NCS) far from reopening the Lugogo Indoor Stadium. The date for its availability is a mirage without any concrete explanation. In addition, while we are bound to lose some games, the basketball administrators should also plan beyond he unreliable power which has led to so many late starts and finishes.
The most boring segment of this strip is the pressure umpires will face from tomorrow. Complaints are growing and everyone should know that this thankless job is about minimising mistakes not perfection.

16 November 2011

UGANDA : Bilfam test Power’s playoffs credentials

Sunday result (W)

Crane High 47-51 Amazon

Today at YMCA
M: Power vs. Bilfam (8.30pm)
W: KIU vs. Sparks (6.30pm)
Warriors vs. Canons (8:30pm)

DMark Power face South Sudanese side Bilfam Warriors in a friendly encounter at YMCA this evening as a build-up for the Fuba League play-offs.
Coming off a bitter 94-96 loss to Warriors on Sunday, Power will be keen to use tonight’s game to put a few things right before taking the court in Game One of the best-of-five semi-final series against Miracle Eagles on Saturday.
Power, who looked uncharacteristically disjointed against Warriors in the fourth quarter, have inside knowledge of their Sudanese opponents after they visited them in Juba in July, setting the stage for an exciting game.
Bilfam also played Warriors last night and have lined up games against Ndejje Angels and KIU Titans on Thursday and Saturday respectively. After the games, they will head to Nairobi for more build-ups.
Meanwhile, KIU Rangers wrap up their regular season with a game against former women chapions Makerere Sparks today. Rangers have already secured third place and should use the clash to fine-tune for the best-of-five semifinal play-offs duel against KCC Leopards.

KENYA : KPA to wait as Africa show is pushed back .

KENYA Ports Authority (KPA) date for Africa Club Championships has once again been pushed to next month. Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko said FIBA Africa have released new dates for the10-day continental event that is slated to start on December 4 in Cameroon.

The event has attracted 12 teams. “The fact that FIBA Africa has moved the dates ahead gives us some time to continue with the play-off matches that involve KPA. The porters face Sprite Storms this weekend in Mombasa,” he said. He released the play- off semi finals fixtures that will also see reigning men champions Co-operative Bank play KPA at the Mombasa Sports Club.
Other semi finals matches will see Eagle Wings take on United States International University (USIU) in the Premier League category. In the lower division semis, University of Nairobi “Terrorists” play Nairobi Aviation College (NAC) and World Hope take on Lakeside. In classification matches, Parklands Baptist face Nakuru Club, Co-op Bank (women) meet Western Delight and USIU have a date with Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology (MMUST).

15 November 2011

KENYA : Upper Hill School Emerge the NBA League Champs

UPPER Hill School are the 2011 Nairobi Basketball Association provincial league champions. The students who finished runners up in last year's title race, pipped Kenya Airways 79-75 to claim the crown in a tight Game Four tie at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium. They took the best of five series 3-1.

Upper Hill trailed by 17 points before staging staggering heroics to become the first school side to win the title. The two teams had gained promotion in Mombasa in a match won 49-45 by Kenya Airways. The champions trailed in the opening three quarters, 14-18, 13-17 and 19-21 before picking themselves up and shooting past the losers with a 33-19 margin to take the decisive quarter.
Joseph Ongoro managed 13 points, Eric Ouma shot 14 while Dominic Osale, declared the MVP bagged game high 24 for Peter Orero's boys who finished fifth in regular season. Rogers Mutai made 14 points, Emmanuel Ekai had 15 while Eric Odhiambo bagged 16 for Airways who finished with the best record in the post season losing only one game.

The ladies title was taken by Safe Spaces who beat Africa Nazarene University 3-0. Barclays Bank of Kenya and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) finished in third in men and women categories.

UGANDA : Warriors rally to soar over Power

A huge result came down to a big umpiring call in favour of Kyambogo Warriors to edge DMark Power 96-94 on Sunday night thereby finishing the MTN-Fuba League regular season as seed one.

The trend from the past week continued when umpire John Omondi called a contentious foul by Jimmy Enabu on Jude Ochen with 11 seconds on the clock and the game tied at 94-up. YMCA court was buzzing as Warriors had clawed back from 13-point deficit mid-way through the third period. Ochen sunk two of the resultant three free throws for a tally of nine points which proved enough to preserve Warriors’ perfect 6-0 record against the other playoff teams.
“That could have been a bad call but it came against 20 bad ones,” Mandy Juruni, the Warriors coach, said. Neither team seemed impressed with the officiating. These complaints are becoming habitual.
The guard only completed a job started by MVP candidate Eric Malinga to confirm last year’s losing finalists as favourites for a second title and the celebration of their fans told it all.

However, Warriors, like everyone else, still have work as Power were the better side for most of the night.
The champions were quicker off the blocks to edge ahead 29-19 after the first period. Even after Warriors fought back 17-14 and 30-28 in the next two, it remained Power’s game to win or rather lose.
Michael Kojo seemed unplayable on the inside for his 12 points and nine rebounds early on. He was getting support from reigning MVP Ben Komekech (19), Isaac Luggudde (18), Joseph Ikong (14) and Isaac Afidra (13).
Warriors were clearly rattled. Then Eric Malinga finally showed up to score all his 17 points in the second half and swing the game though Power still led by five (94-89) with one and four seconds to play.
On the next transition, a charge was given on Power’s Emmanuel Enabu as he tried to get past his brother Ivan Enabu. The latter scored one on the line for a total of 15.
Ochen sunk a deep three before the winning baskets from the charity line. Warriors clearly played within themselves with mainly Henry Malinga’s 16 points and eight rebounds saving them from early surrender.

SEYCHELLES : Anse Boileau and Mont Fleuri winners

Anse Boileau and Mont Fleuri are this year’s winners of the Cable & Wireless secondary school tournament which took place on Saturday at Victoria Gymnasium.

In the boys’ final Anse Boileau beat Mont Fleuri 16-9, while Mont Fleuri easily overpowered Belonie 16-3 to win the girls’ title. The National Sports Council and the Seychelles Basketball Federation also joined Cable & Wireless in sponsoring the tournament.
Anse Boileau started the tournament with a 26-14 win over English River in the preliminaries, before knocking out Beau Vallon 30-3 in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, they faced Praslin who qualified after eliminating Independent School 10-7 in the other quarterfinal match. Again Anse Boileau were the strongest side as they eliminated Praslin 12-2 for a place in the final.
Mont Fleuri, on the other hand, started the competition with a 13-11 victory over Plaisance in the quarterfinal to advance to the semi final where they eliminated Belonie 12-10.

In the girls’ competition, Mont Fleuri started with a crushing 28-3 victory over Independent School in the quarterfinal, before inflicting an 18-0 punishment on Anse Boileau in the semifinal.
As for Belonie, they started with a 12-6 victory over Pointe Larue in the quarterfinal, before edging out Plaisance 8-7 in the semifinal.
Mont Fleuri’s Kevin Romain and Jana Malbrook were voted the tournament’s best boy and girl performers.
R. D.

14 November 2011

NIGERIA : First Deep Water Now Target African Title

Management of First Deep Water basketball Club of Lagos has vowed that the club would write its name in gold at the Africa Women Basketball Championship holding in Yaounde, Cameroun, December, 4 to 10.

Speaking in Lagos Friday while receiving the NBBF Zenith Bank Female League Championship trophy, won by the club for the second year in a row, Chief Executive of First Deep Water Discovery Ltd, Babatunde Babalola said the club now has eyes on the African Club title.
" We are elated at the success of our club in Nigeria for the second year running. But more than that, we have made preparations to do the country proud at the African Clubs Cup in Yaounde come December," he said.
" We won the national title last year and it was said in some quarters that ours was a fluke. Now it is obvious we are no longer a team to be overlooked," he said, adding, "Our target now is to fight our opponents there in Yaounde so as to emerge the best in Africa. We want to do that to wipe the tears off the face of Nigerians in view of recent failings of our football teams."

13 November 2011

UGANDA : Can Power stop Warriors?

By Charles Mutebi THE Kyambogo Warriors have not lost to a playoff-bound team in the regular season. Reigning FUBA men’s champions Power have one last chance to change that when they meet Mande Juruni’s Warriors in the regular season finale today at the YMCA courts.
In addition, Power can finish as regular season champions and go into the playoffs as top seed if they defeat the Warriors by 13 points. Kyambogo defeated Power 90-78 in the first round and come into this game leading their arch rivals by a point atop the standings.
The Warriors are, therefore, marginal favourites for this highly-anticipated clash, which is fittingly the last game before the playoffs, but Power believe they can spoil their rivals party.
“We can beat them by more than 13 points,” Power hard-man Boniface Okello vowed.
“Our loss to them in the first round opened up eyes and all we have to do is stay composed and out-rebound them”.
Added Okello: “We have to chock their guards and prevent the ball from going to the big men. Ivan (Enabu) has been their man scorer lately so we have to stop him.”
Kyambogo’s Steven Okias believes his team will “definitely finish in top spot because we are focused and we want to finish first”.
“Ivan has been leading us lately but we have so many scoring options so you don’t know who is going to turn up,” he added.
Meanwhile, UCU will go into the ladies playoffs as top seed if, as expected, they defeat A1 Challenge today.

FUBA League
Men’s Div 1
UCU 63 Nkumba 35
Today at YMCA
Ndejje v KIU (6pm)
Warriors v Power (8pm) Women
KCC 75 Magic 45

A1 v UCU (4pm)

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