14 November 2014

KENYA : Basketball stakeholders look to clean up act ahead of playoffs

  • Basketball Referees ahead of a past premier league match.(Photo:SNA File)
A crucial meeting bringing together the key stakeholders will be held early Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium to address concerns raised by teams ahead of the league playoffs.
Referees, team managers and captains of all premier league clubs as well as representation from sponsors and the federation are expected to attend. Officiating will be a key agenda for discussion.
There have been issues around officiating with referees facing the wrath of players for what is seen as “poor officiating”.
The teams are now keen to have things streamlined as the league enters a crucial stage.
During the meeting, referees are expected to share new FIBA rules that came into force from October 1.
“Every time referees make blunders, they tell us its the new rules which we have no idea about. This meeting will shed more light on that so that we are reading from the same script,” a team captain who sought anonymity said.
Playoffs on the agenda 
The playoffs could also be in the agenda as teams seek to have their welfare taken care of.
Due to the live television schedule, games are expected to run through the week and late into the night just like last season.
However, teams have insisted on being offered transport for the games ending late in the night or time changes effected.
“We are not keen to go through the same experience we had last season. Some of us come from far and getting out of Kasarani late was challenging.”
All that will be addressed at the meeting with the playoffs tentatively slated to begin on November 22.
The date is still not official because some teams have few games to play. Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has five games remaining in the men premier while Strathmore University, Mennonite and Nakuru Club have two games pending each.
Ulinzi Warriors, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Blades, Equity Bank, Terror, Blazers and Nairobi Aviation College all have a game to play.
Packed weekend schedule
KPA will have a marathon play this weekend in Nairobi to cover three of their five games.On Friday, they play against Nairobi Aviation College before taking on KAA on Saturday.
They then play Strathmore University on Sunday with all games at Kasarani.
Nakuru will host Mennonite on Saturday for both teams to remain with a game while Ulinzi play Blazers to complete their season roster.
Other games of the men premier have Blades up against Equity Bank while Terror tackles Strathmore University.
Equity Bank is certain to miss out on the playoffs as they sit ninth with 43 points and a game at hand.
A win this weekend will tie them at 45 points with KPA who have five games at hand and Strathmore who are yet to play twice.
KAA, Blades, Lions, USIU-A, Ulinzi and Co-operative Bank have all secured their playoff spots. Blazers and Mennonite are at the bottom of the table.
Women premier league defending champions KPA will be left with a game after playing Western Delight this weekend while United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) completes its play against Strathmore University.
Western Delight will play their last game of the regular season against Eagle Wings on Sunday.
Apart from KPA, all the teams in the league will be through with their games this weekend. Despite financial challenges for the better part of first leg, Safe Spaces have made it to the playoffs for the second season running.
They sit a point above Kenyatta University Oryx who are ninth with 28 points and have played all their games.
Safe Spaces will play Sprite Storms on Saturday with a chance of increasing their points tally.
Other teams making it to the playoffs are Ulinzi Blades, Storms, Strathmore, Co-operative Bank, Eagle Wings, KPA and USIU-A. Mennonite and Western Delight sit at the bottom of the table going to the deciding weekend.
Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) who have played all their games and sit two points above Western Delight will be crossing their fingers this weekend.
Their closest challenger in the relegation battle Western Delight play two games against title contenders KPA and Eagle Wings in Nairobi.
Losses for the Kakamega side in both games will put them at par with KCA-U.
KBF Weekend Fixtures: Friday- Terror vs Strathmore University (6pm, Kasarani), Nairobi Aviation College vs KPA (8pm); Saturday- Nakuru Club vs Mennonite (12pm, Nakuru), KPA Ladies vs Western Delight (11am, Kasarani), Ulinzi Warriors vs Blazers (1pm), Sprite Storms vs Safe Spaces (3pm), KPA Men vs KAA (6pm); Sunday- ANU vs Barclays Bank (9am, Kasarani), Eagle Wings vs Western Delight (11am), USIU Flames vs Strathmore University (1pm), Blades vs Equity Bank (3pm), Strathmore University vs KPA Men (6pm).

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