31 October 2013

KENYA : Player exodus hit Lions ahead of playoffs

  • The Team Lions will be a weakened side when they face Ulinzi Warriors in their quarterfinal matches as the Kenya Basketball Federation league playoffs begin this weekend. Five of their key players will not be available for duty owing to varied reasons.
    Chizza Aristote and James Omune have left the country for collegiate basketball in the USA while Ancetas Wafula is nursing an ankle injury.
    Prolific scorer Tobias Onyango, Anthony Mbori and Eric Omare all have work commitments. The team had to struggle in the last quarter of the season where they lost key matches including a shock defeat to Terror.
    Head coach Francis Ngunjiri has put on a brave face.
    “If you look at the players we are missing, it is more like my starting five. Tobias, Chizza and Ancetas are players who can score an average of 20 points each in a game but we will try to cover for their absence.”
    Lions will play the soldiers by the virtue of finishing fourth in the regular season while Ulinzi came fifth.
    Both teams tied at 37 points but Lions proved superior arithmetically. Victor Ochieng and Roy Kahure are the notable faces for Lions while Ulinzi has the likes of Captain William Ochieng and Mike Tanui.
    Co-op Bank face Thunder 
    Defending champions Co-operative Bank will have a date with Thunder in yet another highly billed encounter.
    The bankers finished third on the log with 38 points while Thunder was sixth with only a point separating the two sides. In the regular season, both teams snatched away three points from the other courtesy of a home win and away loss respectively.
    Co-op Bank head coach Carey Odhiambo is highly expected to recall last season’s most valuable player Bobby Okwako who has been noticeably absent owing to work commitments.
    Table toppers Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, will play Nairobi Aviation College who finished eighth.
    The students have performed beyond the expectations of many coming straight from promotion to edge out regulars like Blazers, Terror and Mennonite for the playoffs bracket.
    Aviation was the first team to beat KPA in Mombasa this season but lost the reverse match in Nairobi. Ariel Okal will be called to execute his powerful dunks against Aviation and propel KPA to victory with Alex Lugasi standing out as well for the team.
    Varsities derby 
    Strathmore University and United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, have been paired in an explosive “varsities derby”.
    The match will be a replica of last season’s encounter at the same stage which USIU-A won 2-0 in the then best-of-two series. Each team won one match against the other in the regular season and will go to this encounter on rather equal strength.
    However, form is in favour of Strathmore who finished second on the log with 16 wins and six losses compared to USIU’s seventh finish with 14 wins, seven losses and one forfeiture.
    ZUBL award winning player Geoffrey Oteki will carry huge hopes for Strathmore who are keen to avenge their elimination by USIU last season. Kevin Macharia, Victor Bosire and captain Christian Mulumba will seek to stop Strathmore in the USIU side that has had an inconsistent run this season.
    All the men premier matches will be aired live on the official broadcaster Supersport from Friday to Sunday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
    A change this season will see quarterfinal matches played in the best-of-three series while semifinal and finals will be played in the best-of-five across all the categories.
    Women's Fixtures 
    In the women premier, KPA has already booked its semi final spot after strolling to a 2-0 series win over Safe Spaces in Mombasa over the weekend.
    They won 106-45 and 75-40 respectively. Last season’s runners-up USIU-A have a rather tricky match against Co-operative Bank in their quarterfinal pairing.
    The students finished fourth and the bankers fifth with both sides tied at 37 points. Another tough encounter will pit third place finishers Strathmore University on 38 points against sixth placed Sprite Storms who are two points adrift.
    Title holders Eagle Wings have an easy task to dispatch Western Delight. Strathmore University, Equity Bank and Kenya Airports Authority have an upper hand going to the second game of the division one playoffs.
    Fixtures: Friday- Lions vs Ulinzi (6pm, Kasarani), Co-op Bank vs Thunder (8pm); Saturday- Trailblazers vs KAA (8am, Nyayo), KU Pirates vs Umoja (9:30), Little Prince vs Strathmore University (11am), Zetech College vs Equity Bank (12:30), USIU-A vs Co-op Bank (2pm), Strathmore University vs Storms (3:30), Eagle Wings vs Western Delight (5pm), Nairobi Aviation College vs KPA (12pm, Kasarani), USIU-A vs Strathmore University (2pm), Thunder vs Co-op Bank (4pm), Ulinzi vs Lions (6pm); Sunday- Equity Bank vs Zetech College (8am, Nyayo), Strathmore University vs Little Prince (9:30), Umoja vs KU Pirates (11am), KAA vs Trailblazers (12:30), Western Delight vs Eagle Wings (2pm) Storms vs Strathmore University (3:30), Co-op Bank vs USIU-A (5pm), Nairobi Aviation College vs KPA (12pm, Kasarani), USIU-A vs Strathmore University (2pm), Lions vs Ulinzi (4pm), Co-op Bank vs Thunder (6pm).

    KENYA : Mennonites Sides Drop Out of Premier Leagues

    The Eastleigh-based self sponsored sides are among the six teams that have been relegated from the top tier league after the completion of the regular season last week.
    Mennonites amassed a total of 19 points from 22 games and are placed last according to the final standings released by Kenya Basketball Association (KBF) fixtures secretary Joseph Amoko yesterday. The other team to drop from the top men's tier are sole team from Rift Valley--Nakuru Club who had 23 points from 22 games.
    Mennonites women's side bagged 19 points same as NYTA Shimba Hills from 22 matches while Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University and Parklands Baptist have been relegated from Division One.
    They have 25 points each. Amoko said KCA and Baptist will move down to the Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) Provincial League and two teams will fill their place after the next month's play-offs in Mombasa.
    "We have already notified our branches that the Mombasa play-offs will determined the two teams to move up. We expect 16 participants with NBA bringing in six and Coast four," he said.
    NBA play offs semi finalists Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture an Technology (Jkuat) Juja, Baraka Xtreme, Mount Kenya University (MKU) Thika and Dankind Academy will travel for the tournament.
    The other two will be determined after classification matches involving the losing quarter finalists Africa Nazarene University (ANU), Barclays Bank of Kenya, Don Bosco and Legacy

    NAMIBIA : Basketball Is Alive and Well in Tsumeb

    Windhoek — The Tsumeb Basketball Club hosted a very successful basketball tournament in the copper town last weekend , October 26-27. Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF) Development Officer, Francina Amakali, was the chief organizer of the tourney and assured that the NBF would continue working hard to save basketball from dying a natural death in Namibia.
    The tournament consisted of six male teams and four female teams, led by Rebhawks combined team (Rebells and Tomahawk from Windhoek), Leopard from Ongwediva, Bullets from Walvis Bay, G-Town from Grootfontein, Osire from Osire Camp in Otjiwarongo, Titans from Tsumeb, Redhawks and Polytechnic girls.
    Rebhawks finished tops in the male competition and was followed by Leopard in second place, while the Bullets put up a courageous performance to clinch third place. In the female event, Redhawks managed to maintain their good game as they finished first in the ladies competition, while Leopard girls trailed in second place and the Polytechnic girls had to settle for a consolation third place.
    Dr Nderecha of the Alpha Clinic sponsored the tournament. Nderecha promised that Alpha Clinic would try by all means to make the tournament an annual event, as organizers of the Copper Festival Games have over the years omitted basketball from the games. Hungry Lion also supported the event through providing shades and other materials.

    30 October 2013

    ZAMBIA : Pacers Win First Game for Zambia

    Pacers 56 - JBC 36
    UNZA Pacers yesterday beat JBC of Zimbabwe to record a first win for hosts Zambia at the Zone Six Africa Club Men and Women Championships currently underway at the National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC) in Lusaka.
    Pacers, who started off their campaign with a 70-66 defeat to Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique on Monday night in Group A, continued with their good showing to this time around record a first win of the competition.
    With both Pacers and Shells having lost on Monday, pressure was on for the Zambian teams to put up a good performance befitting a host side and Pacers did just that yesterday.
    But the Monday game that was watched by Sports Deputy Minister Steven Masumba saw Pacers starting off on a good note winning the first set 17-15 and dominated the second quarter 35-27 with the likes of Francis Chilebela standing out defensively together three-point shooter Sipo Nakalowa and Gosa Hamudulu.
    But the third quarter saw Beira coming back into the game strongly narrowly losing 49-48 before they upped their game to win the game 70-62 in a match that left basketball fans wanting more but sadly the Zambian team lost.
    Meanwhile, defending champions Primero Agosto of Angola took early command of Group B winning two of their opening matches to lead the log. Agosto started with a 77-59 win over fellow Angolan side Petro Athletico before recording an emphatic 118-58 win over Cameo of Zimbabwe.
    Agosto are in the same group as Zambian side Matero Magic who started their campaign last night with a match against Athletico before the two side's battle it out this afternoon in what would be an exciting tie.
    In the women category, UNZA Honeys were in action against Inter Clube of Angola last evening while Shells, who suffered a humiliating 36-119 defeat to Athletico Polytechnic, are today expected to redeem themselves when they take on Primero Agosto.
    Honeys will return to the field with a game against Polytechnic while Angolan side Inter Clube beat Agosto 66-41 on Monday night fixture

    29 October 2013

    KENYA : Warriors Hunt Down Lions in Premier League Match

    ULINZI Warriors beat Lions 54-50 in a tight Premier League show at the Nairobi Railways Club. Both giants got off to a slow start as Lions led 3-2 in the opening quarter. They went on to maintain a low scoring 20-18 advantage at the break.
    The soldiers then smartly rallied to take the last two quarters 19-16 and 17-14 respectively. Ben Mufutu scored 13 points and William Ochieng added seven for Ulinzi while Roy Kahure and Dennis Opiyo nailed 13 points a piece for the losers.
    In a lower division, favourites Equity Bank clobbered Zetech College 85-54 after taking a huge 40-27 half time advantage. Ian Wachiye nailed 17 points that included four three pointers while George Omenda added 14 for the bankers.
    Felix Omondi scored 17 and Brian Simiyu managed another 12 for the losers. In the Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) play-off matches at the same venue.
    Footprints lost 41-43 to Gladiators who managed to tie the series 1-1. Footprints had won the opener 42-28. Ulinzi Blades cut Parklands Arya 70-32 in another game. Barclays Bank of Kenya were tossed out by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology who won 49-30.
    JKUATS had lost Game Two 47-52. Dankind Academy beat Don Bosco 52-43. Mt. Kenya University (MKU) Thika beat Africa Nazarene University (ANU) 67-59 while Baraka Xtreme dismissed Legacy 63-41.

    RWANDA : KBC ready to end Espoir’s reign

    Kigali Basketball Club are ready to face defending champions Espoir in the best of five Play-offs finals, which starts this Friday with Game One at Amahoro indoor stadium.
    The 2011 champions KBC, who beat Rusizi in semi-finals, will come up against the favourites and still unbeaten Espoir starting at 9pm after the Game One of the women’s Playoff finals between APR and Umbumwe at 5pm and the men’s third place playoff between Rusizi and APR at 7pm.
    “It is high time someone stopped their (Espoir) reign, we want to win this title and we are ready to do everything possible to make it happen,” KCB coach Cyrille Kalima told Times Sport on Monday.
    He added, “Espoir are a solid team and will be the favourites in the final but we are determined to be the first team to beat them in the league in almost two seasons.”
    In a separate interview, Espoir coach Jean Bahufite, whose team beat archrivals APR 2-0 in the best of three Playoffs semi-finals at the weekend said,” The season is not over yet and our target is to try and go another season unbeaten.”
    The Nyamirambo-based side won both the regular season league title and the Playoffs trophy last season and they have already retained the league and are now seeking to hold onto the Playoffs crown as a well.
    Game One
    APR vs Ubumwe
    Espoir vs KBC
    Third place
    APR vs Rusizi

    MALAWI : Malawi’s Bricks suffer first loss during basketball bonanza

    Part of the Sozobal bonanza match between Hi-Flyers and Changalume - Picture by Lusayo Kanyika
    Malawi’s Southern Zone Basketball League (Sozobal) defending champions and leaders Bricks are determined to remain in contention for the play-offs despite suffering their first league defeat of the season.
    National champions Lox360 handed Bricks their first league defeat at Blantyre Youth Centre on Tuesday with a narrow win 80-79.
    Bricks senior member Chikondi Mwendera said the loss would motivate them to return to winning ways to remain in pole position to reach the play-offs.
    “The loss does not mean that we have lost our venom. We are still good and we will bounce back with force and in style to qualify for the play-offs,” he said.
    Despite the loss, Bricks still top the table with 26 points having defeated Changalume 89-46 earlier on. In other games Magang’a beat Crazy Warriors 70-80 while Hi-Fliers defeated Changalume 66-55.
    In ladies friendly matches, Christian Eagles beat Cobbe 31-28 while Netters pounced Cobbe 40-23.
    Sozobal chairman Hamlet Kamtengeni said they organised the bonanza in their quest to conclude the league in good time.
    “Basically we are racing against time. Our calendar was affected when our netball counterparts hosted an event [Africa Netball Championship].
    “The bonanza helped us to play a lot of games within short period. This is a positive step in our quest to finish the league before the start of the national cup and all star games,” he said.
    Kamtengeni also hailed the presence of several supporters saying it hyped the bonanza.

    MALAWI : Ndola Blazers win Malawi’s hood basketball

    Chikwemba - basketball

    Ndola Blazers defeated St Mary’s Gangsters 52-43 to emerge inaugural champions of the Joseph Chikwemba ‘Neighbourhood versus Neighbourhood’ Under-23 basketball tournament at Mulunguzi Secondary School in Zomba on Sunday.
    Inspired by offguard Emmanuel Lembi, Blazers dominated the encounter in all the departments making it hard for their rivals to come back into the game.
    Lembi, who was eventually voted the Most Valuable Player, scored 15 to guide Blazers to be the first side to win the tournament.  Dan Mponda, who was voted the Slam Dunk king, also notched in 14 points as Blazers cruised for victory.
    St Mary’s Gangsters were not completely outdone and the Mbale brothers Charles and Henry took it upon themselves to narrow the margin. Henry scored 13 points with his brother Charles scoring 12 points.
    Cobbe beat Matawale Wild Dogs 48-45 to settle for third place. The tournament’s founder and administrator Hope Chisamanga said the event was a success because it was violence free.
    “The tournament received massive support from Zomba residents. They formed teams according to their townships.
    “We are happy with the level of discipline. We plan to come back next year better and stronger,” said the former Southern Zone Basketball League (Sozobal) General Secretary.
    The sponsor Joseph Chikwemba said he was impressed with the response and plans were underway to continue bankrolling the event.
    “I am quite happy with the response because this is the first of its kind in Malawi. This kind of the tournament would help players grow with a winning mentality because they will be at pains after losing.
    “This is a spirit which we need at national level where players have to fight for their country,” he said.

    28 October 2013

    UGANDA : ANBL Playoffs: Riham Warriors – Ndejje Angels preview

    Game 1 – Sunday, November 3 at 5:30pm
    Game 2 – Friday, November 8 at 7:30pm
    Game 3 – Sunday, November 10 at 3:30pm (If necessary)
    This is Ndejje’s prime-time introduction. The team enjoyed playing basketball throughout the regular season, squaring regular season series with last year’s finalists, Riham Warriors and Falcons as well as Dmark Power, something the university side had not done in four years of playing in the premier division.
    Does this mean the Angels are ready for their comeuppance? Probably not... Let’s try to take a close look and break into Ndejje University Angels.
    Ndejje’s style, super-fast energetic drives and ball transition with at times some emphasis on interior play with Soro or Jeje at the end of it, is well-known.
    If the second round matchup between these two sides is anything to go by, Geoffrey Soro’s chances at overwhelming Henry Malinga should be in place, but nobody knows what sort of Malinga will show up, or how much Soro will address the team’s need for fourth-quarter scoring especially when the pressure is on.
    Brian Odur has carried Ndejje offensively through the regular season and has probably been the teams’ best player. The Angels wingman has enjoyed a light and breezy season. Can he carry that to the post season? Yeah! Can he thrive under the pressure from one the league’s best defenders in Ronnie Kasewu? Not sure he will.
    The Angels are short on passers, reliable long-range shooters and quick decision-makers. Want to ask me if i know that Francis Tumusiime, Steven Okias and Gahuranyi feature for Ndejje? Of course i do! Ndejje’s explosive wing players in, Odur and Jonah Otim somewhat shaky handles under pressure. Their bench boasts no real offensive game-changers... or, at least, none who can change the game in a positive way – not even the coach who calls for wader timeouts and makes substitutions difficult to understand.
    Now, from his first game in charge of Riham Warriors, you could tell that Ivan Enabu, Jude Ochen, Ronnie Kasewu, Henry Malinga and Sam Gombya are Ronnie Owino’s preferred five not that that there are any other real options because his bench is only as good as Ndejje’s at most. So without doubt the ball game will be between starters will very little contribution from the benches.
    Gombya’s awareness has greatly improved and is an integral part of Owino’s offensive set up. If that is not scaring, his height advantage should. Like one of the coaches said “you can’t teach player to be seven feet”. Jeje Chaka and Brian Sentongo have some work on their hands in trying to stop Gombya from making an offensive impact.
    Did i say Soro’s chances of overwhelming Malinga should be in place? One thing i didn’t say yet i have to, is that Malinga has been here for ages and he’s got loads of experience. He should be (and actually will be) able to make it difficult for Soro to find a position at the post and will make Ndejje pay on the other end.
    If there is any major weakness to Ivan Enabu’s game is at times carelessness with the ball yet he is Warriors’ primary ball handler. When the crowd gets him going he sometimes does too much and fails to make a simple pass or create simple plays giving away the ball. It looks like a small issue but giving away the ball to a running side may result into a few points out of break ways. That aside the point guard will trouble Ndejje with hid drives.
    Prediction: Warriors 2-1. Experience over speed any day but there are one offs, right? 

    ANGOLA : Libolo Win 'Vitorino Cunha' Basketball Cup

    The senior male basketball team of Recreativo do Libolo won on Thursday their first trophy in the 5th edition of Vitorino Cunha cup, after beating in Luanda Interclube by 86-75, in the third and last round of the referred tournament.
    Recreativo do Libolo assumed the command of the game since the first minutes of the match, taking advantages of the defensive weakness presented by Interclube, winning the first quarter by 24-12.
    In the second quarter, Interclube were more aggressive by enshortening the disadvantages in the first half by 37-39.
    With 25 points, Libolo's players Cipriano was the top scorer of the match MVP of this 5th edition of Vitorino Cunha cup.
    In the other match, 1º de Agosto finished second after hammering Petro de Luanda by 90-60.

    RWANDA : KBC Date Espoir in Hoops Final

    As expected, Kigali Basketball Club will meet the reigning league champions Espoir in the men's final of the national basketball league at Amahoro stadium on November 1.
    That Espoir would sweep APR in the best-of-three series in the semi-finals was a writing on the wall. It was just a matter of time and that would be behind both teams. The military side put up a contest in the first game losing 51-59 on Friday night, however, the next day, Espoir came charging and thrashed the Kacyiru-based team 77-45 in a one-sided game.
    "We played well and we expected this win. The first one was a bit close but the second one, we were comfortable and enjoying the game," explained Espoir's captain Aristide Mugabe.
    Espoir is yet to lose a game in the domestic league in two years and from the look of things, the status quo might prevail if KBC does not step up to the momentum expected in the post-season. KBC which also walloped Rusizi 97-71 on Friday night and won 79-64 in Game Two on Saturday evening booked a berth to the final.
    KBC's head coach Cyrille Karima admits that it is a tough task ahead of him but he believes that his team is prepared for this stage and this is what they have been waiting for. If the regular season results are anything to go by then Karima is building castles in the air for Espoir defeated his side home and away in a convincing manner on both occassions.
    "We are going to give this our very best and then we shall see how it goes," said Karima in an interview.
    The playoffs commence next Friday at the Amahoro stadium.

    RWANDA : Espoir, KBC through to B-ball play-offs finals

    Espoir will face Kigali Basketball club (KBC) in the best of five basketball playoffs finals after both beat their semi-finals opponents in the best of three series on Friday and Saturday respectively.
    Title defenders Espoir, who are unbeaten for two consecutive seasons, beat archrivals APR 59-51 in Games One on Friday and 77-45 in Game Two on Saturday to storm into finals scheduled for this coming weekend at Amahoro indoor stadium.
    Jean Bahufite’s champions will come up against the 2011 champions KBC, who saw off Rusizi 79-64 in Game One on Friday and 97-71 on Saturday.
    “We are on track to accomplish our mission of finishing this season unbeaten as was the case in the previous one, we are looking forward to the finals,” Bahufite told Times Sport on Saturday.
    In a separate interview, KBC coach Cyrille Kalima said, “We are in the playoffs finals and anything can happen, so we have to prepare ourselves well so that we are in the best possible position to win back the title.”
    APR         45-77     Espoir
    Rusizi         71-97     KBC


    Espoir         59-51     APR
    KBC        79-64     Rusizi

    27 October 2013

    KENYA : KBF Lower Division Play-Off Matches Get Underway At Railway Club

    THREE matches are on card this weekend as the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) lower division play-off matches Game One gets underway at the Railways Club. In the matches will be played on the best of three series basis. Leaders Equity Bank, who amassed 40 points in the 12 team set up, takes on Zetech College. The bankers who are the top seed remain favourites to carry the day with players like Vincent Onsongo and George Omenda tipped to rise to the occasion. Joshua Okumu and Jeremy Opiyo will be key for the college students assault.
    Umoja face Kenyatta University 'Pirates' in another game that looks closely balanced on paper with Kenya Airports Authority having a date with Trailblazers. In the Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs semifinals at the same venue, unbeaten Ulinzi Blades play Parklands Arya Girls while Gladiators take on Footprints in another game. Barclays Bank play Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Juja, Danking meet Don Bosco, Mount Kenya University (MKU) Thika tackle Africa Nazarene University while Baraka square it off with Legacy.

    26 October 2013

    UGANDA : ANBL Playoffs: Dmark Power – Charging Rhinos preview

    Dmark Power during a time outDmark Power during a time outPhoto Credits: Daily Monitor   
    Game 1 – Sunday, November 3 at 1:30pm
    Game 2 – Sunday, November 10 at 5:30pm
    Game 3 – Tuesday, November 12 at 7:30pm (If necessary)
    While it is not exactly a bold prediction to place Dmark Power back into the National Basketball League playoff finals after exiting at the first round last year, there's no way to be certain who will emerge from the other playoff brackets.
    But by virtue of being probably one the most talented teams in the league and going by their regular performances Power will enter every series this post season as decisive favourites. In this particular one Power should be able to overwhelm Charging Rhinos.
    “No one has given us even the slightest of chances but just wait and see” Rhinos’ wingman Abel Omoding told Kawowo Sports. Now if that is not a promise (to us fans) then it is a warning to Power but whichever it is we will wait.
    For a young Rhinos’ side facing a goliath line up on Power, Kalungi’s leadership should help the team remain focused. And by the way there is a lot of budding talent on that Rhinos’ team that can keep things interesting and may be but just may be pull off one win. Now won’t that make things interesting?
    To many, (me inclusive) being at the play offs should an achievement to Rhinos. Actually it is. “Of course being at the playoffs for a team that was promoted is an achievement and actually was out target at the start of the season” Rhinos’ guard Fahmy Sebatindira told Kawowo Sports. “But that won’t make us complacent. We will play our hearts and if an upset happens, well and good and if it doesn’t we will have done our best” he added.
    Prediction: Dmark Power 2-0. Basketball gods won’t be sleeping – again!

    25 October 2013

    UGANDA : Owino in the Spotlight As Play-Offs Start

    Calm and animated at times, Riham Warriors' new head coach Ronnie Owino was the centre of attraction on Tuesday night as his charges defeated City Oilers 63-57.
    The result meant that Warirors ended the regular season in third position and will face six-seeded Ndejje University Angels in the play-off quarterfinals. As much as there will be pressure on Warriors to defend their title, Owino is going to attract a lot of scrutiny in regards to whether he was indeed the right choice.
    Warriors boss Ambrose Tashobya told The Observer there is no way they would have hired Owino at this critical time if he hadn't believed in his tactical abilities. Revitalising the Warriors' spirit of consistency is what Owino is expected to do in this short time; something Emmanuel Samanya, his predecessor, failed. Against Oilers, though, they just showed glimpses of that.
    In fact, many Warriors players are still struggling for form, which is why he rotated his team around only seven players. Essentially, Owino is one of the most highly-rated coaches in East Africa. Turning 50 in seven months' time, he has enjoyed a great deal of success at club and national team level especially in his homeland Kenya.
    In 2000, 2002 and 2003, he guided the Kenya men's team to the East and Central Africa Zone five winners medals. Owino has won the Kenya National Basketball League four times with both men's and women's teams. Eric Malinga, one of Warriors' players told The Observer such a record and the man himself, has boosted the team.
    After the Oilers game, Owino interestingly said: "My players are good and I believe we can defend the title although it would be easy considering the formidable opposition in this league."
    So, while Warriors may have got their man on a short contract, if his magic doesn't work so fast, they will wonder what would have been had he come in earlier.

    RWANDA : Clash of egos as Espoir, APR meet in Playoffs


    APR coach Cliff Owuor has his hands full against the champions.
    Rusizi    vs    KBC            
    Espoir    vs    APR

    Sat: Game Two
    Espoir    vs    APR
    Rusizi    vs    KBC

    Sun: Game Three
    Espoir    vs    APR
    Rusizi    vs    KBC

    Espoir head coach Jean Buhufite is confident his team will beat archrivals APR in the best of three basketball league Playoffs semi-finals, which gets underway today with game one at Amahoro indoor stadium.
    Bahufite, fresh from guiding Espoir team to the regular season title two weeks ago, is eager to add the Playoffs trophy to his collection like he did last season in an unbeaten record.
    The Playoffs draw pitted two archrivals Espoir and APR, setting a stage for the clash of egos. It also means one of the two teams won’t be in the finals against either Kigali Basketball Club or Rusizi, who meet in the other semi-final.
    Espoir became the first team to win the regular season league title with an unbeaten record for two consecutive seasons. They finished with 26 points, five ahead of second-placed KBC while Rusizi and APR finished third and fourth with 20 and 17 points respectively.
    “We need the Playoffs title, it means a lot to us, this team is hungry for more success and we will go into game one will purpose of winning,” Bahufite told Tim
    He added, “I am confident my players can do more, we will continue to work hard and win all our games. We still need to keep our unbeaten record over the two seasons.”
    Last season, Bahufite’s team beat APR 3-0 in the best of five Playoffs finals to seal a league and Playoffs double.
    Meanwhile, KBC are targeting a place in the Playoffs finals and possibly the title after failing to win the regular season league title. The 2011 league champions will faceoff with Risizi in the best of three semi-finals.
    “We are ready for today’s clash against Rusizi, all my players are well prepared both physically and mentally,” KBC head coach Cyrille Kalima told Times Sport.
    He however, admitted, “Espoir will be the team to pay great attention to.”  KBC duo of brothers Mike and Patrick Buzangu will be pivotal for tonight’s tie against Rusizi.

    24 October 2013

    UGANDA : Play-offs games

    Play-offs match-ups

    KIU (4) vs City Oilers (5)
    Power (1) vs Rhino (8)
    UCU Canons (2) vs Falcons (7)
    Warriors (3) vs Ndejje (6)

    UCU (1) vs Nabisunsa (8)
    KCCA (2) vs Gladiators (7)
    Stormers (3) vs Mak Sparks (6)
    A1 (4) vs KIU (5)

    MEN: KIU vs City Oilers (7.30pm)
    WOMEN: A1 vs KIU (9.30pm

    23 October 2013

    UGANDA : Power Is the Team to Beat

    The men have been separated from the boys and it is that time of the season when tension sets in as the top eight teams battle for the ultimate supremacy, writes Collins Kakwezi.
    The play-off matchups for the Airtel national basketball league were settled yesterday, after six months of the regular season. Amid the anxiety and drama that unfolded, Dmark Power had long been assured of the top billing after defeating UCU Canons a week ago.
    For their efforts, Power also knew their quarterfinal opponents would be eighth-seeded Charging Rhino. Therefore, Power has had a full week of preparation against the weakest team in the play-offs as the rest of the opposition remained uncertain of who to face.
    The one-week break puts Power in great shape ahead of Friday's opening round of the play-offs and barring an upset of epic proportions, Power will enjoy a walk in the park. Interestingly, the other remaining quarterfinal clashes are evenly balanced and will most likely push the top teams to the limit.
    Without doubt, Power is the team to beat and in Norman Blick, Isaac Afidra, Ben Komakech and Joseph Ikong, they possess the strongest individual lineup. However, their biggest undoing is teamwork and can be rattled on a poor outing like the 65-91 blowout loss to Warriors earlier in the season.
    That said, such off-days are a rarity and Nick Natuhereza's charges play with such gusto that neutrals always root for them. Not even the recent tragedy of Natuhereza's wife could derail them against Canons and it will take a mighty effort for any team to halt the Power juggernaut.
    In the ladies category, the title is Lady Canons to lose. The university outfit eked out a perfect record of 21 straight wins in the regular season and in a clash of opposites, will take on a winless Nabisunsa.
    With KCCA Leopards the only realistic challengers, the Lady Canons will surely steamroll through the opposition.

    ANGOLA : Cedric Ison Makes Difference in Win Over Interclube

    1º de Agosto?s small forward Cedric Ison was decisive in his team?s 84-77 victory over Interclube, in the first round of the 5th edition of the Victorino Cunha Senior Male Basketball Cup.
    The US player who was elected MVP in the last season was decisive, despite not having been the best scorer for his team in the match.
    The 14 points he scored, 10 of them in the late part of the third quarter and early part of the last quarter, made the difference and turned things against the opponents that all along stood in an advantageous position.
    Interclube performed better in the first half of the match that ended in a favourable 36 -28 score. 1º de Agosto managed to balance the game in the third period of the match and kept the trend down to the end of the encounter, counting on the experience of such players as Armando Costa, Mário Correia and Reggie Moore.
    On Wednesday, 1º de Agosto will be hosting Libolo, while Interclube will Play Petro de Luanda.
    1º de Agosto lineup: Edson Ndoniema (05), Armando Costa (11), Adilson Baza (00), Mário Correia (13), Reggie Moore (19), Felizardo Ambrósio (06), Kikas Gomes (06), Mutu Fonseca (02), Cedric Ison (14), Edmir Lucas (00), Islando Manuel (04), Hermenegildo Santos (04).

    22 October 2013

    LIBIA : Al-Ahli Tripoli Face Down Security Threats

    Al-Ahli Tripoli are back to training after the team pulled out of the local league following recent attacks on players and coaches.
    Club chairman Sasi Buown met with players on Friday (October 18th) to raise their spirits and asked them to return to their training sessions.
    Libyan international and al-Ahli midfielder Mohamed al-Maghrabi was shot in the arm October 14th, two days after three men opened fire on coach Hossam al-Badri outside his Tripoli home. Other al-Ahli players also reported receiving threats over text messages.
    Last Wednesday, the Tripoli side suspended their participation in the Libyan football premier league and called for stopping the league altogether. They also demanded authorities identify those behind the attacks.
    Buown and former al-Ahli and Libyan international Ali al-Asouad visited al-Maghrabi at al-Hadhaba Hospital, where he was receiving treatment for the gunshot wound.
    "The legal and specialised entities are now investigating the incident," said Mohamed Balta, a board member and head of the club's media committee.
    He noted that al-Ahli had signed many coaches from outside Libya to add strength and professionalism to the Libyan league and to all other sports. For example, Tunisian coach Ahmed Kefi started training the basketball team, and a technical team from Tunisia is training the club's volleyball team. The club's cycling and other teams are proceeding with their training sessions.
    Balta said that al-Ahli condemned the attack, confirmed Libya's unity and stability, and reiterated the team's keenness on the return of Libyan football, therefore signing al-Badri and others.
    He added that the club contacted the football federation and asked it to adopt a strong stance.
    "The entities concerned must intervene because al-Ahli shouldn't bear all of it alone," he said. "Libya's sports may be targeted through al-Ahli, which is a big club with its own mark on the sports scene in the country."
    Al-Ahli fan Ali Abdel Kader, 31, demanded that the youth and sports ministry, together with the interior ministry, protect players and stadiums, as well as co-ordinate their efforts to establish security and stability.
    "This isn't about al-Ahli alone, but Libyan football in general," he said.
    Youssef al-Tarhouni, a 27-year-old fan of al-Itihad, said that for the first time, "all clubs have shown solidarity with al-Ahli".
    "In the past, we used to plot against each other. However, the incident is dangerous to football, and the youth and sports ministry must co-ordinate with the different agencies to establish security, especially as young people here want to see Libya in African leagues, qualifiers and world cup qualifiers in all sports so Libya's flag may be raised up high," al-Tarhouni said.
    "The attack on al-Ahli Tripoli is a breach of law and security, and I think it's a black point that we hope to overcome. I hope we can stand on solid ground, as the country is suffering from the repercussions of revolution," Saloua al-Basir, a preparatory school math teacher said.

    UGANDA : Warriors, Oilers in direct shoot-out for third place

    Warriors forward Andrew Okot (with ball) tries to find his way past a double-teaming
    Warriors forward Andrew Okot (with ball) tries to find his way past a double-teaming defence act of City Oilers in the first round. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 

     It was always bound to come down to this: Riham Warriors versus City Oilers to decide who gets third place in the Airtel National Basketball League. Oilers ensured that by routing eighth-placed Charging Rhino 95-67 at the Lugogo MTN Arena on Sunday night to match Warriors’ record at 15-6.                 
    Kami Kabangu poured 30 points and 10 rebounds to further enhance his acclaim as a leading candidate for regular season MVP and keep Oilers in the running for third place.
    The winner of today’s game at Lugogo will finish third.
    The beaten side will fall into a puzzle along with Kampala International University (KIU) Titans and Ndejje University Angels to decide position four to six.
    This takes into account the assumption that KIU will also be at 15-7 after tonight. KIU should beat Nkumba Marines, in ninth and nothing to fight for, in the early game. Two of Ndejje, KIU, Warriors and Oilers will definitely play each other in the quarterfinals and those match ups involving 3 versus 6 and 4 against 5 will be known after the latter two play.

    Postseason thoughts
    Factor in the playoffs starting in three days’ time and you know momentum to take into the postseason is on everyone’s mind.
    Oilers will even want to complete a season double over the champions having won the first encounter 83-71 to enhance their belief
    Oilers’ coach Mandy Juruni, a champion with Warriors, even sees a shining diamond in regard to the possibility of winning the title in their first season of topflight basketball
    “If my best or influential players show up, then we have a chance of going deep in the playoffs.
    “If the players are true to themselves that they are up for winning then they will. It’s not just saying we can for (the sake of) it. You have to be true to yourself.“If the core team is playing well then the players from the bench will equally be good,” Juruni concluded.
    Kenyan Ronnie Owino takes charge of his first game at Warriors after replacing Emmanuel Samanya until the end of the year.
    Samanya should offer Owino the stat sheet that had Jimmy Enabu and Kabangu score 32 and 23 points plus 10 and 13 rebounds against Warriors.
    Stop those two and also get the trio of Henry Malinga, Ronnie Kasewu and Ivan Enabu going offensively and Warriors could retain their crown.


    M: Warriors vs. City Oilers (8.30pm)
    M: Nkumba vs. KIU Titans (6.30pm)
    M: Nkumba 52-83 UCU Canons
    M: Rhino 67-95 City Oilers
    M: Vegetarian 98-76 Miracle
    W: KIU 44-63 A1 Challenge
    W: Mak Sparks 86-76 Nabisunsa

    RWANDA : Espoir, APR clash in Basketball playoffs

    Espoir    vs    APR
    Rusizi     vs     KBC
    The Playoffs draw pitted two archrivals Espoir and APR, setting a stage for the clash of egos.

    It also means one of the two teams won’t be in the finals against either Kigali Basketball Club or Rusizi, who meet in their semi-final.
    Rwanda Basketball Federation confirmed that the battle for the 2013 Playoffs title will start on Friday through Sunday with the best of three semi-finals clashes and the finals will be played the following weekend at Amahoro indoor stadium.
    The regular season ended on Sunday with champions Espoir extending their unbeaten run to 12 games all season and will go into the Playoffs as firm favourites against APR.
    Espoir became the first team to win the regular season league title with an unbeaten record for two consecutive seasons. They finished with 26 points, five ahead of second-placed KBC while Rusizi and APR finished third and fourth with 20 and 17 points respectively.
    Former champions APR booked the ticket to play in the basketball Playoffs finals following a comfortable 76-46 win over 30-Plus on Sunday, while the 2011 champions KBC cemented their second place with a 78-46 win against 30-Plus, who finished bottom of the seven-team table without a win.
    Espoir won last season’s Playoffs title after whitewashing APR 3-0 in the best of five finals.

    21 October 2013

    KENYA : KPA tops men's Premier League, Blazers survive the cut

  • KPA's Joseph Ouma at a past game for his club.(Photo:SNA File)
  • Mombasa side Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, will have the biggest advantage going to the playoffs after securing the top spot in the regular season that comes to a close next weekend.
    The Dockers took home maximum four points from their weeknd tour of Nairobi which saw them complete their roster with unassailable 40 points. On Saturday, they beat Terror 84-45 and Strathmore University 70-53 on Sunday.
    With KPA safely at the top, the fight for the remaining top four spots has narrowed down to five teams with only three places at stake.
    They will all be aiming at nothing but end up in the bracket to ensure they get a fair matchup in the playoffs quarterfinals.
    Defending champions Co-operative Bank come second with 38 points after winning their last two matches same as Strathmore University.
    The bankers beat Nakuru Club 79-49 and Blazers 80-38 while Strathmore registered a crucial 68-52 win over Lions on Saturday.They had earlier lost to KPA.
    Thunder, Lions in the race for playoffs 
    Thunder and Lions could join both teams on 38 points if they win their remaining matches next weekend. Thunder has one match to go against Lions and have 36 points.
    For Lions, they have two matches remaining and are on 34 points. Ulinzi Warriors, with two matches remaining and on 32 points, could as well earn a top four finish if they emerge victors in the remaining matches.
    Terror suffered a major setback in their push for the playoffs qualification after the loss to KPA. They are now on 29 points and will pray hard for Ulinzi to beat Nairobi Aviation College on Friday to keep their chances alive.
    Aviation is on 28 points and a win will ultimately lock out the University of Nairobi side from playoffs.
    Blazers survive relegation 
    However, a loss for Aviation will see them tied with Terror at 29 points leaving the rest to arithmetics. With a point earned from their loss to Co-op Bank, Blazers sailed clear of relegation as they stand at 26 points.
    It was second time lucky for Blazers who cheated relegation in the eleventh hour last season after a 61-56 win over Terror in the last match.
    Nakuru Club on 23 points and Mennonite on 19 points are all but relegated. In the women premier, Kenyatta University Oryx put one foot into the playoffs with a 42-30 win over Kenya College of Accountancy- University, KCA-U, on Saturday.
    The students are now eighth on the log with 26 points, two behind Western Delight who have a match at hand. A loss to Delight in their last match will gift Oryx a direct entry into the playoffs but a win will tie both teams on 26 points.
    Results: Saturday- Nakuru Club 49 Co-op Bank 79, Trailblazers 66 KU Pirates 62, KU Oryx 42 KCA-U 30, USIU Flames 55 KPA 54, Terror 45 KPA 84, Lions 52 Strathmore University 68; Sunday- Strathmore University 53 KPA 70, USIU Tigers 93 Nakuru Club 58, Blazers 38 Co-op Bank 80.

    RWANDA : APR make Playoffs after win over 30-Plus

    There were no surprises after former champions APR booked the ticket to play in the basketball Playoffs finals following a comfortable 76-46 win over winless 30-Plus at Amahoro indoor stadium on Sunday.
    Before the game started, both teams and the spectators observed a minute of silence to remember former APR player Eugene Uwineza, who passed away last Saturday. Nestor Manzi led APR to the win against 30-Plus with 15 points.
    With so much at stake, Cliff Owuor set out his APR team on a very clear mission, and the players didn’t let him down as they dominated the first half 34 - 19 before adding 42 points in second half to snatch fourth position from the hands of United Generation Basketball (UGB), who will understandably be disappointed to miss out.
    APR and UGB finished level on 17 points but the former edged the latter on points average 1.11 against 0.89.
    On Friday, 2011 champions Kigali Basketball Club cemented their second place with a 78-46 win against 30-Plus, who ended the regular season without a single win.

    Four teams led by two-times champions and still undefeated Espoir, KBC, Rusizi and APR will contest in  the Playoffs finals, however, the Rwanda Basketball Federation have not yet set the dates.

    20 October 2013

    KENYA : USIU Flames in narrow win over KPA

    File picture
    File picture
     Updated on 19/10/13
    Emma Nyakweba’s 16 points for last year’s KBF Women league finalists United States International University (USIU) proved very vital for the students who escaped with a narrow 55-54 win over visiting KPA at the Nyayo stadium gymnasium on Saturday.
    Flames’ Magnifique Ndanyi had 15 points while Yvone Akinyi managed 16 points for KPA.
    In other matches played on Saturday, KPA was on fire with an 84-45 win over students Terrorists; a match in which Terror’s Collins Odhiambo emerged with 14 points.
    Samuel Odhiambo and Joseph Owino each had 14 points for Strathmore Blades in another highly charged match against Lions. The match ended 68-52 in favor of the Blades.
    TRAILBLAZERS 29/66      VS        K.U. PIRATES   32/62
    15/14/19/18                                  17/15/15/15
    20 pts Joseph Achega                    13 pts Collins Kinisu
    18 pts Ishmael Nyamache              10 pts Nicodemus Odhiambo
    K.U. ORYX    22/42        VS          KCA-U    15/30
    07/06/09/20                                  02/13/11/06
    12 pts Betty Kananu                      10 pts Slyvia Ongae
    12 pts Racheal Wandago                10 pts Lydia Imbati
    USIU FLAMES   27/55      VS       K.P.A..   14/54
    13/14/15/13                                   10/04/16/22
    16 pts Emma Nyakweba                16 pts Yvonne Akinyi
    15 pts Magnifique Ndanyi
    TERROR    18/45          VS         K.P.A.     42/84
    06/12/14/13                                20/22/21/21
    14 pts Collins Odhiambo              11 pts Ariel Okall
    10 pts Dickson Odhiambo
    LIONS   27/52            VS          STRATHMORE   30/68
    18/09/14/11                              14/16/15/23
    16 pts Victor Onyango               14 pts Samuel Odera
    11 pts Roy Kahure                      14 pts Joseph Owino

    UGANDA : Oilers want bigger fish to fry in basketball league

    Charging Rhino is not the kind of team that will worry City Oilers that much as they clash in the penultimate fixture of the Airtel National Basketball League at the Lugogo MTN Arena today.
    With the playoffs starting on Friday, former champions Rhino and newcomers Oilers will be shooting at different targets on the same floor.
    After years of oscillating between the top tier and relegation, Rhino, champions 16 years ago, will feel that finishing this season is a sign of stability for years to come. Not many expect them to make a run deep into the playoffs but their opponents, top seeded DMark Power, cannot take them too lightly.
    A fortnight ago, Rhino pushed Power to the limit before losing 57-54. However, Rhino will know a three-game quarterfinal series against the five-champions will be a different prospect. On the other hand, Oilers have real title ambitions. “I am very confident that we can compete with the best teams,” Oilers’ coach Mandy Juruni, a champion with Warriors last season, said.
    “We have seen it with the two rounds we have played.” Many would easily write off Juruni’s talk of a deep run into the postseason mainly because his team seems thin on quality. They are heavily dependent on Congolese-born Rwandese centre Kami Kabangu with guard Jimmy Enabu as his side-kick.

    19 October 2013

    KENYA : Weekend basketball preview

    File picture of USIU vs KPA
    File picture of USIU vs KPA
     Updated on 19/10/13  |    By NOEL ROBERT

    The standoff between Strathmore Blades and lions will be sorted out today when the two sides clash in a game expected to be highly charged and not on 27th as earlier slated.
    Tipped as the two sides to lose the regular season’s top seed, both teams enter this game with a burning yearn to win and close out the regular season. Lions are sort of depleted without their evergreen Tobias Onyango and small forward James Omune. Tobias’ absence is likely to affect Tom Ngunjiri’s charges being the clutch players sometime shouldering Lions thanks to individual skills and his timely assists. Veteran AncetteWafula must now sharpen his claws and nail his dreaded three-point shotsto add life to the Lions who’ll be avoiding a double loss in the hands of Blades.
    The game kicks off at 4 pm. Blades play their second and final regular season game on Sunday against KPA. Their first game of the season was called off because of poor lighting and a flooded court. The dock men were leading 31-27 at the halftime break during the clash.
    Of interest will also be a game pitting USIU Flames against former champions KPA. The students known for their fast game will be against an aging but experienced KPA hoping to make an assault on the Classic crown this season. Guard hildaIndasi has her work cut out against her former side and expects a tough match-up against 2010 MVP Hellen Aketch known for her defensive grip. The game kicks off at noon.
    University of Nairobi’s Terror, hot from shocking Lions two weeks ago expect to continue with their push for the remaining playoffs slot when the host KPA tomorrow at 2pm. Terror, built around forwards Hillary Kubai and Brian Obimbo hope to player the spoilers’ role in KPA’s match to securing a home court advantage for this season’s playoffs.
    In other games lined up for the weekend, last season’s runner up USIU Tigers hope to put back their double loss to KPA and Thunder when they travel to Nakuru for a game against  Nakuru Club at Menengai High School ground while defending champions entertain Blazers on Sunday at 4pm.

    ZIMBABWE : HBA League - Peters Eyes JBC Scalp

    UZ Stars said coach, Philip Peters, is confident that his team will shine in their match against JBC tomorrow at Richwood Park. After taking a break from the league matches as they participated in the Old Mutual Super Six championships, UZ Stars will be hoping for a win but it will be a tough task, with JBC being one of the top clubs in the province. Peters said their preparations have been going on well during the week although they are likely to miss one of their centre players due to an injury.
    "Last weekend we had the Old Mutual tournament but our preparations have been going on well during the week, we will have our last practice today (yesterday). We have Roland Mapoto, he is one of our centres, I think he will not be able to compete. He picked a knock during the tournament.
    "We are going to compete because we are really raring to go. We will give JBC a good run, my players are coming up and I think they have what it takes and we are really positive we will cause an upset.
    "Our major challenge is that most of our players will be balancing between school work and practice," said Peters.
    In other matches lined up for the weekend, Hustlers will take on Pistons tomorrow at the Arcadia courts. The courts, which were being refurbished, will be officially opened today and Harare Basketball Association spokesperson Carlos Munda urged other communities to emulate Arcadia.
    "Arcadia is part of HBA and we are working hand-in-hand with them. We got games that will be held at the courts, they were being renovated. We should be having some games (during the league) going to Arcadia."
    Today: A league: Cheetahs v Black Rhinos, Cameo v Airforce Falcons, Hustlers v Pistons.
    B league: F.M.L v Drifters, Pacers v Swagou.
    Women's league: JBC V Black Rhinos, Raiders v Stanbic Real Returners.
    Tomorrow: A league: JBC v UZ Stars.
    B league: G.A v Mablazo, Platinum Ballers v Chinhoyi University.
    Women's league: Vixens v UZ Stars, L.A v Green Stars, Platinum Ballers v Chinhoyi University.

    18 October 2013

    UGANDA : UCU Canons Ready for Falcons Test

    THE UCU Canons knew the price of finishing second in the Airtel National Basketball League (ANBL) regular season.
    That did not stop them from defeating the Ndejje University Angels and locking up second seed for the upcoming postseason.
    Martin Okwako and Syrus Kiviri tied for a game-high eight points apiece as UCU edged Ndejje 44-42 in a low-scoring battle Wednesday night at the YMCA.
    The win assured Nick Natuhereza's Canons (17-4) of a nerve-shredding meeting with the Falcons in the playoff quarterfinals. There is a sense of unfairness about two leading contenders for the championship meeting in the postseason first round but Natuhereza is up for the fight.
    "Our focus was not on avoiding the Falcons," said the intelligent UCU tactician after his team's hopes of grabbing top spot ended last Friday with the 71-70 loss to D'Mark Power.
    Walker Obedi's Ndejje went into this match with slim hopes of snatching second place but the Angels, who lost the first quarter 17-8 but recovered to win the second 14-2, failed to find the knockout punch.
    Francis Tumusiime (eight points) was Ndejje's top scorer in an occasionally high-tempered encounter, which saw Angel Brian Odour ejected in the fourth period for sweeping down UCU's Sunday Okot in retaliation.
    Still, Ndejje can be extremely proud of their best ever season (15-7) and they will be hard to crack in the postseason.
    Meanwhile, Claire Lamunu, Rebecca Akullo and Martha Soigi nailed 19, 15 and 10 points respectively as the KCCA Leopards thumped the Gladiators 78-38.
    Joan Mochuruku and Charlene Karungi scored 16 and 11 points respectively for the Gladiators.
    Basketball league results
    Men: UCU 44 Ndejje 42
    Women: KCCA 78 Gladiators 38

    KENYA : Kenya basketball players cry foul over missing allowances

    File picture
    File picture
     Updated on 17/10/13  |    By NOEL ROBERT

    Failure by the Kenya Basketball Federation to honor their side of the bargain and contribute ‘something’ towards the players’ allowance could have been the major cause of the national ladies’ team dismal performance in Mozambique.
    The players are now asking for answers from the national federation especially on the matter of allowances which were never paid despite the players honoring all matches in Maputo.
    In a mail sent to the federation, the team has ‘troubling enquiries in regards to the recent trip to Maputo, Mozambique for the 2013 Afrobasket tournament’.
    Prior to departure on our last day of training, we were promised by KBF that though they would not offer much, they would indeed contribute something towards our allowance. To date, weeks after returning from Maputo, we have still not received that allowance.
    Vicious rumors are circulating about where the money went to or if it was even released and for the sake of clarity and transparency, I would just like to hear the truth from the KBF themselves about what has happened to our allowance. I do not want to jump in to hasty conclusions based on “hear say” but instead to give you all the opportunity to give us some feedback.
    I am happy with the strides the KBF has made this year in becoming a better organization and I definitely would not want this to be a step back from the progress you all have made,” reads the letter to the federation sent by one senior player seconded by her team-mates.

    NAMIBIA : Basketball Project Comes to an End

    To commemorate the end of this long-term basketball project, an official handing- over of basketball equipment took place on 15 of October at the Basketball Artists School in Katutura.
    In attendance were among others Dr. Vetumbuavi Veii, acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, George Simataa, president of the Namibian Basketball Federation (NBF), Frank Albin, basketball expert with the project and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Namibia, Onno Hückmann.
    Ambassador Hückmann praised the success of the project and thanked the German basketball expert Frank Albin for his tireless work.
    He underlined how the project was able to significantly increase the number of involved children, coaches and teachers in basketball. Thanks to the programme, the number of primary school children playing basketball increased from roughly 200 to 1000, and the number of teachers and trainers increased from about 20 to 100.
    The quality of training and the federation structures are of a more solid nature today than they were four years ago. Basketball courts were established in numerous locations, the regions were equipped with materials and several tournaments and competitions were initiated.
    The basketball equipment donated at the event via the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the German Olympic Sports Confederation is valued at roughly N$ 250 000 and includes 500 basketballs, electronic score boards, office equipment, cones, whistles, stop watches, rims and backboards among others.
    Additionally, Ambassador Hückmann highlighted the success of the Basketball Artists School, a sustainable pilot project which combines high-quality youth basketball with social aspects such as education and life skills.
    In August this year, five girls from the Basketball Artists School were part of the Namibian U17 squad that won the silver medal in the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) games. Frank Albin will continue his engagement at the Basketball Artists School in future on a voluntary basis.
    Children of the Basketball Artists School had the opportunity to demonstrate their basketball skills and local singers Linda and Slammer provided musical entertainment

    KENYA : KPA in search of crucial city points

    File picture
    File picture
     Updated on 17/10/13  |    By NOEL ROBERT

    KPA will be heading to Nairobi this weekend hoping to erase their painful loss against Ulinzi two weeks ago in a game that the dock men took a twenty-point lead at the beginning of the second half. The tides were too much for the soldiers who held fans hostage for close to ten minutes threatening to pull out of the game citing poor lighting in the gymnasium,  a logic that fans replaced with a fear of a glaring loss in the hands of KPA.
    The soldiers regrouped and tamed the excitement that was in KPA’s bench shocking the dock men 71-68. KPA face an acid test this weekend visiting the court twice against a hard-fighting university of Nairobi’s Terrorists then concluding their tour of the city against Strathmore Blades sitting at the peak of the table with only five losses this season.
    KPA have every reason to worry because should they lose either of the two games slated for this weekend then they risk losing their home court advantage for the playoffs that are to begin in the first week of November.
    Coach Anthony Ojukwu’s charges led by veterans Antony Okello and SamwelOcholla must provide the leadership the Mombasa-based side require to crack their opponents this weekend.

    KENYA : Supersports to Beam Live the National Play-Off Finals

    Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) fixtures secretary, Joseph Amoko, said the men and women's Premier League as well as the division one matches will all be aired live.
    The programme will start off with the Premiership quarter-finals and then semis before featuring the lower tier. Amoko said the only women's match to be beamed live will be one quarter-final.
    The last league match of the season will be played on October 27 with the play-off set to tip off November 1. "We have only a few matches left to play before the end of the regular season. The lower division matches will come to an end this weekend," said Amoko.
    Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) took over the top for the first time. The porters have 36 points from 20 games, early pace setters Thunder are second on 36 from 21 games, Strathmore University are third on 34 points from 20 and champions Co-op Bank fourth on 34 points from 20 ties.
    Defending women champions Eagle Wings top the category with 40 points from 21 matches, Strathmore are on 38 points from 22 matches while KPA have 37 points from 20.
    Equity Bank have finished their fixtures and top the lower division with 41 points from 22 matches. Strathmore University are second on 37 points from similar matches while Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Umoja tie in third place with 35 points apiece.

    17 October 2013

    UGANDA : UCU – Ndejje in final regular season match up

    Gladiators Vs KCCA Leopards 6:30pm
    UCU Canons Vs Ndejje Angels 8:30pm
    When Ndejje Angels and UCU Canons met in the first round, Ndejje came out victorious with a 57-56 edge of their university counterparts.However, UCU Canons were miffed when the buzzer sounded. Nearly everybody associated to UCU shook their head in disgust afterward at what the Canons complained was an unfair timing because they thought they had time.
    At 15-6, Angels sit in the second position ahead of Canons (16-4) because of that head-to-head advantage. The two sides come into the game with opposite results from the same opponent. While Ndejje peeped Dmark Power 67-61 last Wednesday, UCU were edged 71-70 on Friday.
    Ndejje could finish second at the end of the regular season but only if UCU lose to them tonight and Nkumba on Sunday. But will Canons drop three successive games? May be not...
    Meanwhile in the women’s division, Gladiators and KCCA Leopards will face off for a third and last regular season meeting in a preview of the first round playoff series.
    Gladiators (4-16) are way past their best years and having lost the previous two encounters by at least 41 points in each game, Leopards (15-5) should find no trouble completing the regular season sweep of Gladiators.

    RWANDA : Kabange Signs One-Year Deal for As Far De Rabat

    Rwanda men's basketball team centre forward Kami Kabange has joined Morocco's side AS FAR (Force Armee Royale) in a one-year deal worth $10,000 (about Rwf6.8m), Times Sport has learnt.
    The former APR and Espoir player has been undergoing trials at the Moroccan first division side for the last two weeks. After impressing, it is reported that he signed a Rwf6.8m one-year deal which will go to his Ugandan club City Oil, and he will be getting $3000 per month (about Rwf2m).
    The 29-year -old player joins AS Far de Rabat after spending one season with City Oil which he joined after a stint with Rwandan champions Espoir a season before.
    The DR Congo-born player will be allowed to return to Kampala to play for City Oils in the Ugandan league Playoffs games before linking up with his new club next month. Kabange becomes the second Rwandan to feature in Morocco after Kenneth Gasana, who played for Charab Hoaciema for two seasons.

    BOTSWANA : Dolphins walk over Warriors

    Dolphins claimed a comfortable 100-36 win over toothless Warriors in the men’s basketballleague to continue with their resurgent form in the second round.
    Victory over the bottom side at SSKB on October 12 kept Dolphins on course for a top four finish and a place at the end of season national championships. The Dolphins have now amassed 23 points from 13 matches after registering their eighth successive win. They are in fourth position ahead of Police V.
    Thuto Shai led from the front scoring 15 points as Dolphins established a stranglehold in the first quarter, which they won 27-3. Patrick Mokgethi and Thando Mawela also produced good performances as the Dolphins took a 47-18 lead at halftime.
    They then ran riot in the third and fourth quarters to claim a comfortable win. It was the second time this season the Dolphins drubbed Warriors after the first round match between the two sides ended with a 107-34 victory for the Dolphins.
    Warriors on the other hand were suffering their 15th loss in a row and are still searching for a first win in their debut season in the league.
    Meanwhile, BDF V pulled level with defending champions Police V at the top of the women’s league table after a 94-61 victory over Dolphins. The two rivals have 26 points each but BDF V have played one game more.

    16 October 2013

    ZAMBIA : YMCA Win, Move Second

    Titans 54 YMCA 72
    THE chase for the Zambia Basketball Association (ZBA) northern region league title intensified at the weekend with all the three front runners Lunga Bullets, CEC Cavs and YMCA Stringers all in a tight contest at the summit of the table.
    However, it was YMCA who took a major step in closing in on leaders Bullets and in the process displacing Cavs into the second position after outclassing Kwacha Crusaders in the Kitwe derby played at CBU courts.
    This week 13 result saw YMCA move level on 18 points with Bullets having played two games more, with the Cavs dropping into third on 17 points while the Titans are hovering in the bottom of the table on eight points from eight games.
    Comets 101 Crusaders 55 CBU Comets produced a superb display to hand the Crusaders a 101-55 thrashing and maintained the fourth position on the log with 11 points. The Crusaders remained stuck in fifth position on nine points.
    Haulpaks 39 Magnets 48 In the B league, Mufulira Magnets extended their lead on top of the table to 17 points after claiming maximum points with a 48-39 victory of Nchanga Haulpaks while Konkola Trotters recorded a narrow 48-46 victory over Fairview Falcons to remain a point shy of Magnets in second position.
    CBU Robins moved into second position on eight points after beating leaders CEC Queens 55-39 in the only Feminine league game played on Saturday, with the Queens' lead reduced to a point.

    UGANDA . Five Talking Points Ahead of Play-Offs

    The Airtel basketball league regular season comes to an end this weekend and with most of the eight play-off slots settled; attention is on who will have the last laugh, writes Felix Eupal.
    Title wide open
    By the midway point of the second round, it was a two-horse race between UCU Canons and Dmark Power.
    But over the last few weeks, Warriors, Falcons, KIU, City Oilers and Ndejje Angels have all caught up and possess the firepower to pull off major upsets in the play-offs.
    Owino will be crucial for Warriors
    Defending champions Warriors exercised their strong financial muscle by snapping up Kenyan Ronnie Owino to replace Emmanuel Ssamanya as coach. Owino is no stranger to Ugandan basketball.
    Early this year, he led Tanzania's ladies to the Zone Five Club Championship. It is understood Ssamanya is leaving the country to join his wife abroad. Owino's contract runs until the end of the year but he is widely expected to stay beyond that period.
    This may be Canons' year
    Currently second on the table, the Canons have had a fairytale season and the seven-year wait for a championship could finally be over. Despite having arguably the most balanced team in the league, temperament is still their Achilles' heel.
    Yet the university team believe the Fuba officials are always against them. It was the same scenario when they fell to Power last Friday. Canons need to improve on their game maturity if they are to get the monkey off their backs.
    The referee question
    The issue of the poor officiating has stuck for years. Fans, who by the way have less knowledge about the technicalities of the game, have baptized the refs as 'biased' and little qualified.
    Truth is the refs have made some alarming calls but that hasn't taken away the fact that they have also done a good job and are qualified personnel. It remains to be seen how the match officials will handle pressure moments.
    Falcons getting their groove back
    They were a laughing stock all season until a month ago when they put their house in order. Despite being seventh on the table, no team wants to face them in the play-offs. For one, they have a healthy squad.
    Their coach Gad Eteu says: "We don't care whom we meet, be it quarters, or semis." Such confidence at the right time is what has made them fierce

    ZIMBABWE : Raiders' Men, Women's Teams Shine

    RAIDERS' men and women's teams had a good outing over the weekend as they won their matches in the Harare Basketball League.
    The championship got underway last month and most of the teams have slipped into second gear as they battle for the league title.Raiders men beat Pistons 78-68 at Richwood Park to maintain a 100 percent winning record in the A league so far.
    It was the same story for their women's side as they dismissed L.A 63-17 in a one-sided affair.
    Raiders coach Martin Mukweva said his charges have been improving since the season began last month.
    "Comparing with the two (opening) matches, they have definitely stepped up. Pistons are a big team placed among the top five in the province.
    "Since we have a youthful (women's) squad, they are raring to go and they are doing fine. They played really well," said Mukweva. Raiders power forward, Norest Shenje, said the match was good their target was to win the league title come the end of season.
    "It was a good game, we won by 10 points. Our first game was slow since we were coming from off-season. Our first game was against Hustlers and the second was against JBC and we won, it was a big game.
    "We are going for the championship," said Shenje.
    In other matches played in the league JBC beat Hustlers 49-45 in a match that could have gone either way as both teams played some good basketball proving why they are rated among the top teams in the league.
    Cameo dismissed Black Rhinos 78-40 to conclude the weekend's fixtures in the A league.
    A League: Cameo 78, Black Rhinos 40; Raiders 78, Pistons 68; JBC 49, Hustlers 45.
    Women's League: Arcadia 50, FML 42; L.A 17, Raiders 63; Hornets Queens 17, Vixens 72; Stanbic Real Returners 67, Black Rhinos 17.
    B League: G.A 55, Pacers 58; Arcadia 77, First Mutual Life 41; City Hornets 37, Mablazo 40; Swagou 64, Drifters 68.

    UGANDA : Sloppy’ UCU Canons fall into Angels’ trap

    Falcons veteran Sam Obol is sandwiched by Ndejje’s Francis Tumusiime (R) and Idi Nkuruziza during
    Falcons veteran Sam Obol is sandwiched by Ndejje’s Francis Tumusiime (R) and Idi Nkuruziza during a recent game. Ndejje are now a formidable force. Photo by Ismail Kezaala  Amid the chaotic finish to UCU Canons’ narrow loss to DMark Power last Friday night, the former’s coach knew exactly whey they were beaten. “I think we were sloppy,” Nicholas Natuhereza said following the 71-70 defeat that handed Power the number one seeding for the playoffs. Canons’ failure to get their ‘big men’ playing was evident.
    In the absence of centre Desmond Owili, it seemed like the guards – especially Syrus Kiviri and Sudi Ulanga – didn’t trust the other options enough.                 
    Kiviri and Ulanga have earned the right to take as many shots as they want.
    But, a combined 18 attempts from downtown only bore fruits thrice. Their return of 29 points and 17 points was only a cover up. With Owili on the floor, their big men would have definitely got more than the 13 field goal attempts they managed to leave UCU stranded in second at 16-4 record.

    That sloppiness will be welcomed by Ndejje University Angels when the two clash at YMCA court today with the latter hoping to do more than just finish in the top four. Ndejje, promoted in 2009, are having a memorable season, way better than their 15-6 record. They still have an outside chance of finishing second.                 
    Beating UCU then Nkumba Marines doing the same on Sunday will earn Ndejje that feat and their coach Walker Obedi sees even further ahead.
    “We can win the championship,” Obedi said.
    This belief is shared by his players especially last year’s regular season MVP and top scorer Geoffrey Soro. The talisman wants to make up for missing last year’s playoffs through injury and make a deep run.
    Victories over Falcons and Power – both for the first time – and results against all teams in the top seven except City Oilers are sufficient to make a case fro Ndejje.

    Today is a chance to push their case further and it’s possible after the 57-56 win over the same opponents in the first round.

    15 October 2013

    UGANDA : KIU keep fight for places alive

    Kampala- The Airtel National Basketball League is into its final days but still far away from knowing who the 2013 champions will be.

    Unfortunately, most teams hoping for a title run-in must wait until at least Friday, when Riham Warriors play City Oilers, to confirm their playoff quarterfinal opponent.
    Besides DMark Power-Charging Rhino and UCU Canons-Falcons who lie 1st, 8th, 2nd and 7th respectively, places from three to six are not yet decided.

    KIU Titans did little to change that. By beating top seeds Power 57-40 in a sorrowful game at the Lugogo MTN Arena on Sunday night, KIU stayed within a breath of a place in the top four.
    Their 14-7 record doesn’t change their position in sixth, for now. However, they remain within touching distance of Ndejje University Angels, Warriors and City Oilers.
    Ndejje and Warriors are at 15-6 whereas the newcomers Oilers have accumulated a 14-6 record with the regular season set to wind up on Sunday. Ndejje still have to play second-placed UCU Canons on Wednesday. Warriors and Oilers play the following day and KIU are expected to thrash Nkumba Marines on the final day and improve to 15-7.
    Consequently, the trio of Ndejje, Warriors and City Oilers can still finish with seven losses each.
    Throw in the permutations of head to head results between them and their respective points’ then you know that headaches come in many different ways.
    Answers will be very conclusive in the next five days. Chris Omanye scored a team-high 11 points to keep KIU in the mix of finishing higher than sixth.

    You cannot understate the fact that Bernes Ankunda’s Power never seemed interested in the game at all after Friday’s 71-70 win over UCU ensured they finish as top seeds.
    That victory also confirmed Falcons’ last stand to finishing higher than seventh vanished even if they beat relegated Victoria University Heaters 82-64.

    Centre Philip Ameny and guard Abdullahi Ramadhan sat out the practice session (pan intended) as club captain Peter Elungat scored a game-high 20 points.

    Sunday Results
    M: Power 40-57 KIU
    Falcons 82-64 Heaters
    Vegetarian 74-76 Rhino
    W: Nabisunsa 55-96 Stormers
    Mak Sparks 70-40 Gladiators

    RWANDA : Champs Espoir target regional dominance

    Espoir (in green) playing against Kenya's USIU during this year's Zone V championships in Bujumbura. Times Sport/ File

    After winning the local basketball league title for the second consecutive season  without losing any game, Espoir coach Jean Bahufite has set himself a higher target to make his team the best in the region and among the best on the continente.
    “Now my focus is to try to be the dominant team in the region and to be a regular at the African level. We need to take this home form to the Zone V and it’s my duty as the coach to prepare the players to aim for high targets,” he told Times Sport on Monday.
    He noted that although the team has been consistence in the local league, the players still need to aim higher and this includes becoming the top team in the Zone V region because the players are capable of doing that.
     “It will take us time to become a top team in Africa but we can be the top team in the region. We have very good talented and young Rwandan players, who just need more training and exposure at the big stage to become top players capable of challenging among the best on the continent,” added.
    The Rwandan champions failed to defend their Zone V title after falling to Burundi’s Urunani in the final 65-56 in Bujumbura in August.
    Espoir set a new record of finishing the local league for a second successive season with an unbeaten run after beating Rusizi 83-37 on Sunday.
    Point guard Lionel Hakizikimana led the 2012 Zone V champions’ charge with a game high 17 points; forward Allen Christian Barutanayo added 15 points, while last year’s Most Valuable Player Aristide Mugabe and Pascal Karekezi added 13 points apiece.
    The team will get their regular season league trophy after the Playoffs tournament, which will be contested by the top four teams which include; the champions Espoir, KBC, Rusizi and either UGB or APR.

    UGB currently occupy the fourth spot with 17 points, two ahead of APR, who still have one game to play against bottom side, 30-Plus on Sunday. A win for APR would give them 17 points and then mathematics will come into play to decide the team that takes fourth place.

    14 October 2013

    UGANDA : Tough Ties On the Cards in Play-Offs

    If the Dmark Power-UCU Canons clash is anything to go by, brace yourselves for several on-the-edge-of-your-seats ties in the post-season, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.
    At some stage during the Power and UCU basketball league game on Friday, the former looked like they were running away with it. But the late surge by UCU created a feeling that this game would go into over-time.
    But time ran out with Power holding out a 71-70 lead over UCU while UCU's point-guard, Cyrus Kiviri, was in possession trying to evade the trap manned by Power's defence in which he found himself; immobile and unable to escape and aim for the basket.
    However, looking at the way the different sets of fans went through the oscillation of emotions that the game created at varying times, appeared to project a pulsating play-off season lying in wait. And maybe in prospect, whichever team has the more 'undying desire' to win the Cup ultimately, will triumph.
    How much UCU wanted to beat Power was the question put forward to their pragmatic coach, Nick Natuhereza. And in the affirmative he answered, "Very badly especially because they beat us in the first round". But he hastily added that it wasn't for the sake of revenging but to build a winning run into the play-offs.
    By Natuhereza's admission, he thinks his players did well although some of the plays weren't executed well like the outside shooting. And even when they were on a quick break, so many turn-overs were committed even when scoring seemed pretty easy. It is actually from some errors, like missing easy lay-ups that championships are lost.
    Barnes Ankunda, Power's coach knows too well about that. Last year, after losing to UCU in the play-off quarter-finals, he told The Observer when he was asked to describe the feeling of losing the title they had won in 2011 and his response was stern. "We need to feel this pain because we made so many mistakes. But it is that pain that will drive us on to reclaim the title in 2013."
    Indeed, Power looks destined for that. Even without Norman Blick and Isaac Lugudde and with their star-man Isaac Afidra only managing six points, they nicked it. They exhibited defensive discipline, which looks a tactical transformation, they haven't largely been known for hitherto.
    For example, who can remember the last time their centre David Kiberu ever scored a game high 25 points? He did this with some aplomb of incredible jump shots embedded with an approach of self-esteem and not timidness that so much defines Kiberu in recent years.
    His coming wedding in December appears to have brought out the real man in him; one that contributes and just doesn't ride on the back of others. He said: "The coach has allowed me the freedom to play the way I want to without restriction. Now I can even come outside and shoot".
    While the momentum seems to be with Power, UCU and Falcons look hungry too. The same, however, can't be said of Warriors, the 2012 champions that recently lost to Falcons. In fact, they look like they are facing a hangover from last season's success.
    But their point-guard Ivan Enabu said: "We are up for the fight and we want it too, so badly". Well, that will be seen in whoever triumphs.

    UGANDA : Warriors hire Kenyan coach

    When Smarts Olumbo came here in 2007, Falcons were down 1-0 in their three-game semifinals series against UCU Canons.

    The experienced Kenyan, probably the most revered basketball coach in this region, engineered a fight-back that helped Falcons beat UCU 2-1.
    He went a step further. Falcons fell into a 0-2 hole in the five-game final series with Warriors. Again, they came back, winning three games in a row for a 3-2 series victory. It’s their last title todate.

    That Olumbo impact is the kind that Warriors are hoping for in hiring another Kenyan coachRonald Owino, 49, whose knowledge they hope will help them retain their crown. “Owino arrives on 15th October (tomorrow) to join the team. He will watch Warriors against City oil on the 18th as (coach) Samanya Emmanuel manages this game,” Warriors chief executive officer Ivan Ntabazi revealed.                 
    Owino, whose CV is littered with titles at both club and national team level in Kenya will replace Samanya who has requested to travel and live with his wife in Italy. In Owino, also a coaches’ trainer, Warriors will feel they have got the right man for the charge as he has won four East and Central Africa Basketball titles for Kenya – three for men and the other women.

    “Ronnie will then be the head coach for our first play-off game assisted by Eric Malinga. We couldn’t release Emmy until we had finalized with a replacement which we have,” Ntabazi wrote.

    This has been an extremely inconsistent season for Warriors as their 15-6 records manifests

    RWANDA : Espoir set new record

    Aristide Mugabe (#8) and Karekezi (#12) scored 30 points between them as Espoir ended the regular season unbeaten. Times Sport / File.

    Rusizi          37-83   Espoir

    UGB             76-65   CSK

    Espoir basketball club have set a record as the first team in Rwanda to win two back to back league titles without losing a single game over the
    The reigning champions retained the regular season title with unbeaten record after beating closest challengers Rusizi 83-37 on Sunday in Rusizi, Western Province.
    Former APR point guard Lionel Hakizikimana scored a game high 17 points and was ably supported by forward Allen Christian Barutanayo, who scored 15 points, while the reigning Most Valuable Player Aristide Mugabe and Pascal Karekezi each added 13 points apiece.
    “It is a wonderful achievement,” Espoir’s coach Jean Bahufite told Times Sport by phone from Rusizi soon after the game as he celebrated his historic accomplishment.
    The Nyamirambo based side dominated their opponents and ran away with the highest-scoring first quarter 25-4.
    The champions were not done as they took the second quarter in almost similar fashion 21-7, and third for 23-10 but Bahufite’s side took their foot off the pedal to allow their rivals get close with a 16-14 in the fourth quarter.
    The two-time back to back champions will now go into the Playoffs finals as the top seed ahead of KBC, Rusizi and tentatively United Generation Basketball (UGB).
    On Saturday, UGB beat Circle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 76-65 to claim the fourth and final playoff spot ahead of APR, who were due to play their final league game against bottom side 30-Plus on Sunday.

    13 October 2013

    KENYA : USIU Flames, Terror win Zuku University league titles

  • Terror won the men's University League.(Photo by Shutterspeed)
  • United States International University- Africa, USIU-A, ladies team and University of Nairobi’s Terrorist were on Saturday crowned the new Zuku University Basketball League champions after emerging tops in the national playoffs.
    USIU Flames easily beat Maseno University main campus 82-38 to retain the title they won last year while Terrorist had to sweat out in their slim 72-68 win over Mount Kenya University, MKU, Nakuru.
    It was a sweet ending for the campaign by Terror who finished second last year behind USIU-A and third in the Nairobi Conference playoffs early this month.
    They were the better side fielding some of the accomplished names in the national classic league.
    Brian Obimbo and George Omenda from Equity Bank, Moses Wanjara from Lions and Geoffrey Oteki from Strathmore University all donned Terror colours giving them an edge over their opponents.
    Head coach Emmanuel Ochieng was relieved that his charges hit the target after narrowly missing the title last season.
    “It is all about hard work and and self belief in my players that we are champions. Our defense has been very strong all along even though the offensive let us down on several occasions but its all about the game.”
    Oteki named the most valuable player
    Terror began off strongly opening up a 12- point lead that sent a signal it might be a one-sided affair.
    However, MKU cut down the deficit to five points by the end of the first quarter with Terror winning 18-13. Terror led 29-24 at the breather with a 13-12 win in the second quarter.
    Both teams were let down by poor free throws which could have made a huge difference.
    Out of 24 attempts, Terror made only eleven while MKU scored 19 free shots from 32 attempts. MKU had 24 turnovers against Terror’s 19.
    The second half was tight as both teams teased each other with good displays.
    Terror managed to carry home the third quarter 28-15 with MKU winning the consolation fourth 27-16.
    MKUs Nicholas Anyang was the day’s hero pulling fans off their seats with good moves that saw him make eight blocks for his side.
    He scored 15 points, missed one free shot from eight attempts, grabbed 14 rebounds and two steals. Richard Mungai and James Okerio top scored for MKU with 18 points each.
    Oteki and Enock Ogecha had 14 points apiece for Terror. USIU-A, last year’s winner, finished third overall after beating Technical University of Kenya, TUK, 67-50 in their third place playoff.
    Oteki was named the overall top points scorer with 45 while teammate Ogecha had 42. Anyang was the top player with 44 rebounds with USIUs Kevin Kigotho coming second with 33.
    Oteki added another accolade to his name after being named the most valuable player in the men’s category.
    Maseno failed to offer USIU Flames the much needed opposition leaving them to retain their title in an easy way.
    From the onset, it was evident that the lakeside team was not up to the challenge as they conceded many turnovers denying them possession.
    USIU was very sharp at rebounds from which most of their points came off. Zipporah Adhiambo scored 21 points for USIU with Cynthia Irankunda adding 14.
    Belinda Okoth was Maseno’s highest scorer with 12 points. UoN Dynamites finished third. Irankunda was voted the most valuable player and won the highest rebounds award with 24.
    Teammate Hilda Indasi walked home with the top points scorer managing 52 while Maseno’s Belinda Okoth came second with 45.

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