30 October 2012

KENYA : Kedogo: Abidjan experience is an eye opener

Eagle Wings players at the airport
Eagle Wings players at the airport

Updated on 30/10/12 | By DENNIS MACHIO
Eagle Wings deputy coach Evelyn Kedogo says their outing in Abidjan where they took part in the just concluded African Women Club championships was an eye opener and comes back with massive lessons learned from the experience.The team returned home on Tuesday morning at 5:30AM and will now shift their attention to defending their KBF League title.
Kedogo admits that Kenya’s standards are way below the rest of Africa and has challenged stakeholders to pull strings towards improving the game to match up with the rest of Africa.
“It was a great outing, good for us and an eye opener for Kenya. We gave it our all but our best was not good enough” She says.
“Clubs out there take basketball seriously and with a lot of professionalism some of them inviting back their top professionals from America and Europe for the championships. Their structures back in their countries are well developed and there is a lot of financial investment in the clubs.” She adds.
This was the second appearance for Eagle Wings at the competition with their first outing having been in 2008 where they finished 10th.Havin g beaten Ndella in classification matches in Abidjan , Eagle Wings finished 9th overall above Ndella and Kedogo says,
“Compared to our last outing, we have greatly improved but we need to work harder if at all we are to catch up with the rest of the continent.”
Kenya dominates Zone 5 that Brings together East African Clubs but her performance at the continental scene is yet to find a breath of good results. Last year, regional champions KPA also lost all matches during the same competition hosted by Nigeria.
“There is a lot we learned. First is the investment in the sport and clubs. Then there is the element of physique where their players are well built and tall. Our tallest players Silalei Shani ended up being like a dot amongst our opponents. Their shooting prowess is so perfect and accurate that is where we were beaten in most of those matches- Shooting.” She says.
Eagle Wings is a self supported club that mostly depended on well wishers and the government to finance their trip to Abidjan with the players struggling to find time in between their jobs for training sessions.
“Compared to us here in Kenya, players in these top clubs play professionally. The teams have been at this level of competition for many years and are well experienced, for example there was this 42 year old lady in the winning team from Mozambique who was voted the most valuable player of the competition .We had also not prepared ourselves for the physical exhaustion because of playing heavy matches back to back.”
“ We are used to our standards here at home where at times we don’t struggle to win matches, but here we needed to put in all our energies at times playing two matches with less than ten hours of rest.” Kedogo explains.
But all the same. Kedogo, herself a former player, says the girls played their hearts out and tried their best. She thanks all those who contributed towards their travel and participation in a competition that has opened Kenya’s eyes to work harder towards attaining higher standards of basketball.

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