24 October 2014

KENYA : Kenya on the spot over age cheating

  • Co-operative bank Titus Musembi(centre) in a past league match against Ulinzi. Musembi is one of the players who has been banned by FIBA for age fraud.(Photo:SNA File)
Three Kenyan male basketball players have been banned for one year each by the International Basketball Federation, FIBA over age fraud.
Titus Musembi and David Ogolla from Co-operative Bank together with Kenya Ports Authority’s Evans Letting are ineligible to take part in any basketball activity for the next one year.
The ban that came into effect in August comes only four years after Kenya was on the spotlight again for the same reasons.
In August 2010, Purity Auma Odhiambo was banned for one year over age cheating. This came as she represented the country at the Africa Under-18 Women's Basketball Championship held in Cairo, Egypt.
The penalty resulted in Kenya losing all the points gained in their group games. The three players are accused by FIBA of producing two different birth certificates in 2008 and 2013 which clearly shows a huge disparity in their ages.
In 2008, the trio were registered by Kenya to participate in the under-18 championship which has now come with dire consequences six years later.
Musembi and Ogolla have not played for Co-op Bank since August when they missed the Zone V Club Championships held in Mombasa and are no longer under the club’s payment.
“This is very disheartening for them because they play basketball to earn a living,” a top official at the club told sportsnewsarena.com.
KBF jury yet to make ruling 
On Monday, a 3-member jury sat at the Nyayo National Stadium to offer audience to the two players at the request of the club.
“A decision was not taken because the jury asked to be given time to hear from other relevant parties. We just hope all this mess will be cleared by the time we head to playoffs as these are our key players,” the source added.
According to the source, the Kenya Basketball Federation, KBF, could have helped avert such sanctions since the players were on national duty and the period it has taken is long.
However, KBF secretary general Vitalis Gode defended the federation saying the players could have sat out for long were it not for their timely intervention.
He says the initial correspondence received from FIBA had banned the players for two years each but they mitigated and was reduced to one year.
“They are set to return in August next year but we are still working to have them back in April,” Gode said.
If the push bears fruit, the players will be ready to play at the start of the 2015 season. Even in the absence of the duo, Co-op Bank will continue with its hunt for league points this weekend when the national classic league resumes.
They play Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) on Saturday at Upper Hill School. Leaders United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) play Terror on Sunday and Abel Nson’s 3-point shots mastery will be vital.
KPA hosts Blazers and Lions 
KPA has a huge treat in Mombasa with two games against relegation-bound Blazers on Saturday and high-riding Team Lions on Sunday.
The dockers will have to do without Tobias Onyango who has left due to work commitments but have dependable Ariel Okal, Joseph Ouma and Martin Kitonga. Nakuru Club which is fighting relegation plays host to Equity Bank with George Kiarie their key player.
Other games in men premier league have Strathmore University up against Kenyatta University Pirates, Blades play Ulinzi Warriors and KU Pirates complete their double against Thunder on Sunday. The battle in women premier will be tight this weekend as top teams are in action.
Leaders USIU-A has a tight one against Co-operative Bank while defending champions KPA welcome Sprite Storms in Mombasa.
The bankers have a second game against Safe Spaces.
It will be a bruising battle as Strathmore University and Ulinzi Blades clash on Saturday with the soldiers playing former champions Eagle Wings on Sunday.
Eagle Wings have a second game of the weekend against Kenyatta University Oryx as Western Delight play host to Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) in Kakamega.
KBF weekend fixtures: Saturday- Eldonets vs Little Prince (10am, UG), Lakeside vs ANU (10am, KSG), Nebulas- Kakamega vs KCA-U (9am, KPC), Western Delight vs KCA-U (10:30, KPC), KPA vs Sprite Storms (3:30pm, KPA), KPA vs Blazers (5pm), Ulinzi Blades vs Strathmore University (9am, Upper Hill), Safe Spaces vs Co-op Bank (10:30), Eagle Wings vs KU Oryx (12pm), Dankind Academy vs Upper Hill (2pm), KU Pirates vs Strathmore University (4pm), KAA vs Co-op Bank (4pm); Sunday-Eldonets vs Baraka Xtreme (10am, UG), KPA vs Lions (4pm, KPA), Nakuru Club vs Equity Bank (12pm, MHS), Nebulas- Kakamega vs Little Prince (9am, KPC), Nebulas- Kakamega vs ANU (2pm, KPC), Lakeside vs KCA-U (9am, KSG), Lakeside vs Little Prince (2pm), Upper Hill vs Trailblazers (9am, Upper Hill), USIU Flames vs Co-op Bank (10:30), Eagle Wings vs Ulinzi Blades (12pm), Thunder vs KU Pirates (2pm), USIU-A vs Terror (4pm), Blades vs Ulinzi Warriors (4pm).

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