20 November 2013

KENYA : USIU look to gain from continental championships at Club tourney

  • USIU and Eagles Wings will compete at Africa Cup of Clubs for women in Morocco.(Photo:SNA File)
  • United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, ladies basketball team flies out of the country left the country late Tuesday for Morocco to take part in their maiden Champions Cup for women.
    This will be the first time for the varsity side to compete at a continental tourney. USIU qualified after finishing runners-up to Eagle Wings at the Zone V qualifiers held in August.
    Wings, the other representative for the zone, will leave the country on Wednesday. USIU, fresh from qualifying for the local league playoffs final, will use the tournament as a learning platform.
    Head coach George Mayienga says this being their debut year, there is nothing much that can be expected from his young side.
    “I have told my girls to go out there and give their best. It is our first time so i can't say what our target is or the teams to beat.”
    Hilda Indasi and Emma Nyakweba are the most experienced players in the side and will be counted heavily to offer leadership.
    Burundian trio of Cynthia Irankunda, Magnifique Urutse and Marlene Bukuru as well as Sarah Chan from Sudan are the only foreigners in the 14-man travelling party.
    With lack of experience being the team’s main weak area, Mayienga believes there is more for the players to get other than just participating and winning.
    “Some of our prospective opponents play professional basketball but for us we are not even amateurs. This is a good opportunity for my team to learn how others do it,” he said.
    Eagles Wings yet to secure accommodation 
    Eagle Wings’ Wednesday departure might be pushed to earlyThursday morning if they will not have secured money for accommodation.
    The government offered them air tickets but they still lack a sponsor to foot their accommodation expenses.
    The technical bench has selected a relatively experienced team bringing on board guest players as they seek to better last year’s results.
    Rose Ouma who plays professional basketball in Dubai, Co-operative Bank’s Eleanor Musundi and Ulinzi Blades duo of Rebecca Sarange and Bridgit Nanzala will all be part of the traveling squad.
    Sarange and Nanzala formerly played for the team before breaking away to play for their military side this season.
    Assistant coach Evelyn Kedogo defended the selection saying they are well within FIBA rules.
    “Other teams bring professional players only that in Kenya we are a bit mean. Unless a team like USIU raises objection or we object to their selection then there is no problem at all.”
    Wings took part in the 2008 edition of the tournament hosted in Nairobi and 2012 in Cote d’Ivoire but failed to get past the group stage on both occasions.
    The team is determined to do things differently this year. “Every team remains keen on a medal bracket finish. For us, making it to the quarters will be welcome since no Kenyan team has ever achieved that,” Said Kedogo.
    Captain Silalei Shani, point guard Samba Mjomba and Annerose Atieno are some of the regular faces making the trip.
    Angela Akoth is the only star player missing owing to personal commitments but her sister Janet Okoth has made the cut.
    This year’s tourney is the 19th edition and will be held in the city of Meknes from November 22 to December 1 that will comprise teams from Angola,Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and the host clubs.
     The reigning champions of African Clubs Cup for Women Liga Desportiva de Maputo will not defend their title due to administrative reasons. Champions Cup for Women Squads: Eagle Wings- Rebecca Sarange, Bridgit Nanzala, Natalie Akinyi, Samba Mjomba, Linda Nyikuli, Janet Okoth, Silalei Shani, Evelyn Nora, Velma Achieng, Annerose Atieno, Rose Ouma, Eleanor Musundi; Management: Thomas Olumbo (Coach), Evelyn Kedogo (Ass. Coach), Nelly Odera (Team Manager), Agina Wesonga (Ass. Team Manager), Kennedy Shikuku (Team Doctor);
    USIU-A- Hilda Indasi, Lucy Akinyi, Georgia Otieno, Lynda Nyongesa, Clarice Odhiambo, Emma Nyakweba, Doreen Nyaga, Zipporah Odhiambo, Cynthia Irankunda, Magnifique Urutse, Catherine Ndung’u, Sarah Chan, Marlene Bukuru, Stephanie Muluka; Management- George Mayienga (Coach), Bonfas Salano (Team Manager).

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