05 February 2013

KENYA : Why Kenya lost to Somalia in AFCON qualifiers

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Updated on 04/02/13 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

The recently concluded regional Zone 5 basketball African Cup of Nations qualifiers held in Daresalaam Tanzania came with mixed fortunes for Kenyan teams. The women team qualified for the Cup of Nations that will be held in Mozambique later in the year on an unbeaten record.
The men’s team on the other hand was ranked 3rd in the tournament after they beat Somalia 72-63 in the 3rd place play-offs. In the group stages however, Kenya were surprised by Somalia losing 79-81.This came as shock to many fans in the country considering the resources Kenya commands as compared to the war torn nation.
As team assistant coach Peter Kiganya explains, the Somalia side was a good team and were not underdogs as many people thought,
“The Somalia team has players who play in Europe and America. Particular players like Faisal Aden and Abdi Ahmed gave us a hard time.In our match alone, the two players had 46 points between them and in all the matches they played at the tournament they averaged 20 points per game showing they are top quality players.” Kiganya says.
“Almost all of them have grown up in USA and Canada and they play in top leagues in those countries, they are good technically and tactically as well. They only flew in for the matches.” Adds senior Kenya team player Ancet Wafula.
The Somalia team’s top player Faisal Aden who is based in Washington emerged as the tournament’s best scorer. He plays for Washington State in NCAA. Yusuf Qaafow was the most experienced player in the team having played several seasons in the NBL, Australia's highest basketball level.
Other players in the team included Osman Olol of Coppin State and currently in Canada at St. Mary's, Abdi Faras from Ohio, Netherlands-based Hoessein Addow , Seattle-based Tabid Mohamed and the Canada based trio of Osman Mohamed, Liban Hassan and Husein Mahdi.
Coach Kiganya however says they had to re-strategize when they met the same side in the play offs where they beat them in a tight revenge match, “we had to cut down their best players. We used combined defense on them and it worked since they could not get the free space we allowed them in the first match.” Kiganya added.
“All in all it was a good experience especially for the new players who were called up to the team and they have seen how the game is played at the level.” Kiganya a former international player himself concluded.

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