30 November 2012

North Africa: Maghreb Clubs Basketball Championship - Es Rades 84 Libyan Jeunesse Arabe 62

Tunisian club ES Radès beat Libyan team of Jeunesse Arabe 84/62 in an opening Pool A game of the Maghreb Clubs Basketball Championship, organised by ES Rades (Nov. 28-Dec. 5) with the participation of six Maghreb squads.

KENYA : Oryx Face Strathmore in Finals Game Five

KENYATTA University "Oryx" tackle Strathmore University in the Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) women finals Game Five at Railways Club on Saturday.
The series is tied 2-2 after KU stayed alive with 54-46 triumph to force the decisive Game Five. KU who were top seed will rely on the exploits of Susan Kinyua, Bettie Kananu and Jane Shikuku hit 10.
Swords, who missed the provincial crown have Manuela Biel, Susan Manya and Pauline Oketch to rely on for the much needed points.
Equity Bank have already claimed the men's title after beating Strathmore University 3-1 in the series that ended with a Game Four win.
NBA prize kitty was boosted by Zone Five president Morris Aluanga and Alsa Basketball. They have donated two top scorers award, two three-point scorer awards and one community service team award.
Alwanga donated two best defensive player trophy (men and women), two MVP trophy (men and women), two most improved player trophies (men and women), one most disciplined team trophy and medals for both winners and runners up in the two categories.

NIGERIA : Lagos Men, Women Basketball Teams Secure Victories

Lagos — The Lagos State men and women basketball teams on Wednesday began their matches at the ongoing 18th National Festival on a good note by defeating their opponents, Ekiti and Taraba, respectively.
The male team defeated lowly-rated Team Ekiti 87- 33, while the females smashed Team Taraba, 74-8. Coach Olayinka Oyewunmi of the Lagos female team described the win as a well-deserved victory, secured due to hard work.
"We worked really hard toward having such results. I do not see the Taraba team as weak, but our preparation and determination was stronger in the game," Oyewunmi said.
His Taraba counterpart, Coach Adoko Alhasan, said that his girls were non-league players, compared to the girls from Lagos state. "Our team is made up of non-league players; our girls are younger and weaker in the game, compared to their opponents.
"I thought not playing league players was part of the recommendations by the National Sports Festival rules.
"However, this result shows there is still a lot to work on in our defence, attack and winning rebounds," Alhasan said.
But Coach Awojirin Adetayo of Ekiti refused to admit that his side was the weaker team.
"We lost today because of fatigue; I made my team go through a strenuous walk out before the game started.
"I am not in any way disappointed in my team; we will surely bounce back from this loss," he said.
In other results of the day in the female category, Team Rivers defeated Kaduna, 42-32, while Team Niger defeated Adamawa, 50-29.
In the male, the Oyo State team defeated Gombe, 62-54. (NAN)

UGANDA : All set for Fuba playoffs finals

Warriors' Sam Gombya on the ball
The Fuba Playoffs finals roll off this Sunday with the men and ladies Division One teams battling out in the best-of-seven series.

Felix Eupal previews the encounters and analyses how they could end.

Falcons vs Warriors

Ivan Enabu and the Kyambogo Warriors proved their mettle by twice coming from behind to defeat UCU Canons in the semis. An outstanding series in which the role players stepped up at the right moment, Warriors are now up against a hungry Falcons side that isn’t about to let anything stand in their way.
Both teams have star players that can save the day but in reality the final will be between Stephen Omony – the best shooting guard in the league – against Warriors star point guard Cyrus Kiviri.
The basketball fraternity doesn’t need any reminders that Omony can hurt any team from anywhere on the court. Then there is Kiviri; critics argue he is given way too much play time than he deserves but he has proven them wrong time and again.
Kiviri has been instrumental on offense and dropped some very important three point field goals than sunk the Canons. On the bench, it’s an opportunity for Warriors coach Mandy Juruni to prove he is the man for the job.
Losing the past two finals says a lot about a coach’s ability to turn a good squad into championship material. As for his Falcons counterpart Tony Oluka, he has never won a championship as a coach but with his right hand man Gad Eteu, they have the edge.
Prediction: I see Falcons edging it 4-3

UCU Lady Canons vs KCCA Leopards

Dropping only one game in the regular season and then sweeping over all opponents in the playoffs makes the Lady Canons odds-on favourites for a fourth championship in five years.
Not that Leopards are simply going to lie down; it’s just that the Lady Canons possess all the intangibles. Maureen Amonding, Loraine Akinyi and Purity Odiambo can take over games because they are just too talented and most of all, they are composed and will punish the slightest of mistake from Leopard.

Prediction: Lady Canons to win 4-1

29 November 2012

KENYA : Lions expect tough match against champions

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Updated on 29/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO
KCB Lions tactician Morris Shitsama has admitted that they will face tight competition from the 2011 defending champions Co-op Bank as the two teams prepare to face each other on Sunday afternoon for game 1 of the semi-finals of the KBF Premier League play-offs.
Speaking to Michezoafrika.com Shitsama knows that Co-op Bank will not be ready to let go their title and they are prepared for this, “I saw them play Ulinzi last weekend in the quarters and by that game you can clearly see that they are in top form. We are well aware of this and we are ready for them.”
In terms of strategy Shitsama put it out that at this level of competition teams have to plan well or risk being defeated, “I saw a completely new Co-op Bank when they played Ulinzi. Their style of play was different as compared to the regular season and we also have adjusted in order to have a good game.”
Papillon Odhiambo is the only injury worry that the Lions have but the coach is optimistic Odhiambo will recover in time, “he is recovering well and hopefully will be available for Sunday’s match though I doubt if he will be 100% but for game two am sure he will be okay.”
The two basketball giants will face it out in the best of three matches and whoever wins two matches will have earned a spot in the finals. The other semi-final match will be between Thika Road based students USIU Tigers and Mombasa based Kenya Ports Authority.

North Africa: Tunis Hosts Maghreb Basketball Tourney

Basketball clubs from Algeria, Libya and Tunisia will participate in a men's tournament beginning Thursday (November 29th) in Tunis, APS reported.
The event runs through December 5th

KENYA: Equity Bank Clinch NBA League Crown

EQUITY Bank claimed the 2012 Nairobi Basketball Association (NBA) league title after beating Strathmore University 72-62 in Game Four of the play-off final over the weekend.
The bankers took the best of 5 series 3-1. Equity stamped their authority in the match, taking all the four quarters 18-16, 13-12, 22-18 and 19-16.
George Omenda led the way with 21 points and Godffrey Abuya chipped in with 16. For the students, Peter Shilton scored 11 and Emmanuel Soja sunk 10. In the women's finals, Kenyatta University "Oryx" won Game Four 54-46 to tie the series 2-2 and head to the wire all square.
The winner will be known this Saturday during the decisive Game Five and thereafter an official closing ceremony. KU took the quarters 8-10, 12-13, 18-8 and 16-5. Susan Kinyua led the superb rally with 18 points and Bettie Kananu hit 10. Swords had big game from Pauline Oketch who managed game high 21 points.
Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) torched Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology 45-28 to finish third and book a ticket back to the Premier League.
Getrude Sagala and Sylvia Ongwae, who have tasted the fruits of the top tier, led with 13 and 12 points respectively. Sylvia Hassan posted 9 for the Juja side.

UGANDA : Falcons honour Ssimbwa ahead of Warriors clash

Falcons are desperate to win this year’s championship in memory
Phillip Amany of Falcons (in red) beats KIU Titans’ Michael Makiadi to possession in the semi finals. Falcons are desperate to win this year’s championship in memory of their fallen hero John Ssimbwa.
By Ismail Dahakaba Kigongo
John Ssimbwa remains very much part of Falcons – the team he gave his all until passing on in June, 2011.
Falcons’ preparation for the Fuba League best-of-seven final series against Warriors included a trip to Ssimbwa’s burial site in Masaka on Monday. “Actually, this was always on the calendar just that the schedule had not allowed until now,” club chairman Denis Mbidde said as his team braces for game one of the series due Sunday at YMCA.
“It was good for team bonding. There were options like a party but honouring him was the best thing we could think of.” In beating KIU Titans 72-57 last Sunday to clinch the best-of-five semi-final series 3-2, Falcons are back to the exact place where Ssimbwa put them. It will be the six-time champions’ first appearance in the final since 2008. Their last title came in 2007 when they beat Warriors 3-2 coming from 2-0 down.
Playing for Ssimbwa has been an open secret to Falcons’ drive this season. “He is always with us in spirit,” his brother Henry Ssemanda said LAST Sunday. They even had a portrait of the former club founder and patron in the dugout against KIU.

RWANDA : Espoir depart for continental challenge


Espoir coach Jean Bahufite.
REGIONAL basketball champions, Espoir left for Malabo, Equatorial Guinea for their maiden appearance in the Fiba African Champions Cup (ACC) slated for Nov 29-Dec 8.
Speaking to Timesport before departure, the team’s coach, Jean Bahufite said, they are going into the tournament not to makeup numbers but to make an impact.
“We have been doing well in the league which is a good sign for my team,”
“I hope we will go there with strong character and mentality”
“We have been winning and I am confident we can maintain our form at the African Club Champions Cup,”
“We are going to compete not to participate so we hope we will do better for our first appearance”
Espoir booked their ticket to the prestige tournament after winning the Zone V club title in Kampala in August after beating Urunani of Burundi in the finals.
To gear up for the tournament, Espoir signed APR duo of Bienvenue Ngandu and Kami Kabange.
Jean Bahufite said he is positive that the experienced duo will help the team to do well in Malabo.
The continental showpiece will attract twelve teams from the seven Fiba zones.
Etoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisa will be looking to defend their title.
Nigerian side Kano Pillars, ASB Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon’s Manga Basket and Ivory Coast’s Abidjan Basket Club (ABC) will also complete.
Other teams include; Al Ahly and Al Ittihad (Egypt), Angola’s Primeiro D’Agosto, Petro de Luanda and Recreativo do Libolo, Etoile Sportive du Sahel and Mongomo Basket Club.

28 November 2012

UGANDA : Close call as Warriors, Falcons brace for finals

CRUNCH TIME: Warriors Brian Gumisiriza
Ahead of the 2012 Airtel Fuba League playoffs finals between Blue Cube Falcons and Kyambogo Warriors that roll off on Sunday, Moses Mugalu assesses each team’s credentials for the title.

It’s been four long years for Falcons fans. The most successful team in the history of Ugandan basketball finally made it to the playoffs finals after edging out KIU Titans in the decisive match last Friday. On the same night, Warriors overcame UCU Canons in five tough matches.
Winning six championships in eight finals appearances, it seemed at one time as if it wasn’t a classic playoffs finals without the presence of Falcons. Only five players remain from the team that won the 2007 title. These include Peter Elungat, Douglas Uwizera, Brian Ssentongo, Francis Tumusiime and Tony Oluka, who is now the head coach.
It has also been a long ride for Falcons’ Geoffrey Omondi and Ivan Enabu of Warriors; two outstanding players that switched clubs with little success and are yet to win the championship. For a Falcons team that narrowly avoided relegation last season, making the final is the lowest they could achieve after making some big and much-needed changes at the start of the season.
Oluka’s side cruised all the way in the regular season. Indeed, everything went smoothly until the playoffs semis, where Titans made them pay for the slightest of complacencies. Warriors, meanwhile, took an even harder route to the finals; having twice come from a game down before shooting down the Canons.
Both teams have an identical 5-2 win-loss record in the playoffs but it’s the former that has broken less sweat. See, Warriors benefited from UCU Canons’ self-destruction more than their own efforts and it’s clear they have played below expectations in post-season. However, there is no indication of their waning powers as long as they keep winning when it matters most.
On the individual score, there are a few factors that could determine the result of this series. The first one is; how motivated will the Warriors’ Malinga brothers [Henry and Eric] be against the team that made them stars?
Next, Falcons talisman Stephen Omony must be a factor against Michael Kariuki of Warriors. Omony is much more all-round and has the chance of being a big threat on both ends of the court. Also expect the rejuvenated Steven Okias of Warriors to be under the radar once again as he goes against Phillip Ameny.
Meanwhile, rebounding could be a spark for Warriors. Sam Gombya’s body size and Norman Blick’s reach should cause problems underneath for Falcons. However, it’s on the three-point line that Falcons might hold an advantage because in Omony, Tumusiime and in particular Ramathan Abdallah, they can hurt Warriors from all ranges.
The two teams shared out the two regular season games and going by form, it should also be a tight contest.

RWANDA : Espoir Coach Targets to Finish in Top Six

ESPOIR basketball club head coach Jean Bahufite has set finishing in the top six as the his team target at this year's FIBA AFRIQUE Clubs Champions Cup scheduled for Nov 29-Dec 8 in Malabo, Guinea Equatorial.
Bahufite, who led his team to an unbeaten streak at the half way stage of the national league, says the team has been undergoing intensive training at Amahoro indoor stadium courts.
The former Espoir player has urged his players to replicate the same superb form that has seen the team win all eight league games in the national league when they storm the continent for the first time in nearly seven years.
"We have been doing well in the league and in training, which is a good sign for us and I hope we will go there with strong character and mentality," Bahufite told Times Sport.
He added, "We have been a winning team this season and I am confident we can maintain our winning streak at the African Club Champions Cup."
The continental show piece will attract the champions of the seven zones of FIBA AFRIQUE and it is going to be Espoir's first appearance.
The former league champions Espoir signed former APR players Bienvenue Ngandu and Kami Kabange. Coach Bahufite is optimistic the experienced duo will help the team to do well in Malabo.
"We signed two of the best players in the country, and they have made a big difference for our team this season. I hope we will continue our winning streak for as long as possible," added the former Espoir player.
The 12 teams from nine countries include; Ess (Tunisia), Ettehad (Egypt), Al Alhy (Egypt), ABC (Côte d'Ivoire), Kano Pillars (Nigeria), ASB Mazembe (Dr Congo), Manga BB (Gabon), Espoir (Rwanda), Primeiro (Angola), Petro(Angola), Libolo (Angola) and Mongomo Basket Club.
It is seven years since Espoir won the national league but after spending massively in the off season, it appears as though the Nyamirambo-based team is running away with this season's title.
Their most recent silverware came in August, this year, when they beat Urunani of Burundi 90-39 to win the Zone V club title in Kampala.

27 November 2012

NIGERIA : NBBF Mourns d'Tigers Shooting Guard Onyeuku

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has expressed shock over the demise of a member of the D'Tigers' 2011 Madagascar Afrobasket bronze medalist, shooting guard Chinedu Onyeuku last weekend.
Nedu, as he was fondly called, was a member of the team that qualified Nigeria for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela, from where D'Tigers won the qualification ticket to 2012 London Olympic Games.
Nedu remarkably cut short his family holiday to report to national camp in Orlando and play against Team GB and Team Netherlands in the 3-nation tournament in London in the build-up to the 2011 Afrobasket.
He also returned to the team for the Zwolle basketball days invitational tournament in Holland in December, 2011 which was his last national team outing.
"His passion for playing with D'Tigers was deep-seated and he will be greatly missed. The federation joins his family and team mates to mourn a departed son, father, husband and great patriot", NBBF Scribe Francis Gbiri said in a statement yesterday.

NIGERIA : NBBF Mourns D'Tigers Star

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) in a release signed by its secretary Francis Gbiri yesterday said it has received with deep shock the news of the sudden passing away of its 2011 Madagascar Afrobasket bronze medalist, shooting guard Chinedu Onyeuku last weekend.
'Nedu' as he was fondly called,was a member of the team that qualified Nigeria for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela,thereby paving the way for Nigeria's eventual participation in the 2012 London Olympic Games. 'Nedu' remarkably cut short his family holiday to report to national camp in Orlando and play against Team GB and Team Netherlands in the 3-nation tournament in London in the build-up to the 2011 Afrobasket.
He also returned to the team for the Zwolle basketball days invitational tournament in Holland in December, 2011 which was his last national team outing. His passion for playing with D'Tigers was deep-seated and he will be greatly missed. The federation joins his family and team mates to mourn a departed son, father, husband and great patriot.

26 November 2012

FIBA AFRICA : Why short-term contracts damage progress

Why short-term contracts damage progress
SHEFFIELD (Júlio Chitunda’s African Message) - For some, the autumn is the ideal time of the year to start outlining personal and corporate objectives for the upcoming year.
In basketball, especially in the national teams’ competitions, things are not much different.
And head coaches’ positions are often a priority.
Last week, Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) President Jose Luis Saez revealed he intended on deciding in two weeks the continuity, or not, of Sergio Scariolo, the head coach of Spain’s men’s team, 10 months before the 2013 EuroBasket.
A couple of weeks ago, President Umar Tijjani of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) told me that they are receiving and evaluating CVs of potential head coaches to lead their national teams.
However, looking at the 2013 African basketball agenda, it suggests that some national federations are planning too, but when are they going to make final decisions and seal agreements?
Let me share with you my view on the short-term agreements, particularly in the African context.
As things stand, it looks like the old philosophy of signing head coaches on a temporary basis for an international event - usually for a period of two to three months - is to prevail, which I believe is a failed option.
It is difficult to implement a team chemistry and mindset in such a short period of time.
Historically, very few head coaches have achieved African glory under such short-term agreements.
Spanish-born French head coach Jose Ruiz led Mali's women’s team to the 2007 Afrobasket title, two months into his contract.
He argues that he succeeded because he knew and scouted most of the France-based Malian players who formed the national team’s backbone. “Otherwise”, he said, it was almost impossible to build a team without knowing the players.
This is why longer terms agreements mean higher chances to succeed.
The Ivory Coast Basketball Federation (FIBB), the hosts of the 2013 Afrobasket, were aware of this predicament earlier this year when they signed head coach Christophe Denis of France.
Denis coaches French team Paris Levallois. He had an initial training camp with the Ivory Coast national team early in the year.
Short-term contracts may appear to save money, but can be very costly.
For reasons that only Angolan Basketball Federation (FAB) knows, it decided last year not to extend the contract of Luis Magalhães, a man who had helped the country win Afrobasket 2009.
Instead FAB confirmed Frenchman Michel Gomez in May 2011 with the objective of winning the Afrobasket, three months later.
The move did not work out and Gomez was sacked midway through the tournament with Angola going on to lose to Tunisia in the Final.
Nevertheless, Gomez’s abilities should not be questioned.
A year later, FAB seemed to have learned from the past and signed former Angola international José Carlos Guimarães, an agreement that may last up to the end of next year’s Afrobasket.
This past summer, although he had agreed terms in March, Frenchman Michel Perrin only started coaching Mali's women’s team 10 days before the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women.
The 2011 Afrobasket bronze medallist lost both group games to France and Canada, and Perrin is still waiting to hear whether he remains with the team.
Tunisia’s Adel Tlatli is the longest serving head coach in African basketball.
He first took over in 2001, but remained in the charge for only five months.
Tunisia's Basketball Federation (TBFF) reappointed him in April 2004 and he has been in charge ever since.
His continuing work with the men’s team has gone from strength to strength. After missing out on qualification to the 2003 Afrobasket, Tunisia finished eighth in 2005, sixth in 2007, third in 2009 and they won gold in 2011 to qualify for the London Olympics.
Coach Tlatli had just landed in Tunis, from Cairo, Egypt - where he attended the 2012 FIBA Africa Congress - when we discussed the “short term contract culture” in African basketball.
“(In Cairo) I spoke to some officials about the issue, and some say that they can’t afford to sign a coach on long term basis,” Tlatli said.
For Tlatli “signing short term contracts is not a workable option because there is nothing a coach can do in a very short period of time.”
“I have built this team (Tunisia's men’s team), and I keep working with most of the players I helped develop since they were 19,” he explained.
Clearly, it is a fact that many basketball programmes in Africa depend on their central government's annual’s budgets.
But, with the rising number of multi-national firms heading to the African emerging market, there is no reason for basketball to remain unfunded.
If there are no government funds, then let private investors join in.
For instance, Tanzania and Oklahoma City Thunder big man Hasheem Thabeet this year hosted a training camp in his native Dar es Salaam, a successful event sponsored by Coca-Cola, which showed that in order to end the inability to fund basketball programmes, marketing may become a helpful solution.
Talent and basketball passion are unquestionable in Africa. Successful teams need stability, consistency and good marketing.
Surely, the tendency to win fast results does not come from short-term contracts.
Júlio Chitunda

GUINÉE EQ. : Renewed ACC champions to battle in Malabo

Etoile Sportive du Sahel (Tunisia)
MALABO (2012 African Champions Cup) - Four new players and a new head coach are the image of Tunisian club Etoile Sportive du Sahel, who aim to defend their title at the African Champions Cup (ACC) in Equatorial Guinea's capital.
But they are not the only team that made adjustments.
The tournament tips off on Thursday 29 November and runs until Saturday 8 December and teams are going to display players from most parts of the globe, including one from the current Spanish gold generation.
Twelve teams from nine countries are expected to make it to Malabo, the backdrop of the tournament.
Egyptians (Al Ahly and Al Ittihad) and Angolans (Primeiro D’Agosto, Petro de Luanda and Recreativo do Libolo) are the most represented countries in the showdown.
The ACC defending champions signed Serbian forward Milan Vucicevic, Jamaica captain Andre Omar Smith and two Tunisian internationals Mohamed Hadidane and Marouen Lahmar.
On other hand, Serbian Dragan Petricevic, the man who last year coached the Tunisians to their first ACC title ever in his first season, has not reached an agreement with the club and left his seat to Cypriot Linos Gavriel.
Olympian Radhouane Slimane, American point guard Willie Kemp and Montenegrin Ersid Ljuca also parted ways with the Tunisian champions.
Despite the changes, Etoile Sportive du Sahel’s new boss says they want to win, although he acknowledges that things may be different this year.
“Last year this team was extremely hungry to win, and their opponents underestimated them. We are going to need to be mentally strong [to retain the title],” Gavriel said to FIBA.com.
Earlier this month, Gavriel’s men began their ACC qualifier tournament with a 78-75 defeat to local rivals Club Africain in the Tunisian region of Sousse.
Since then, things have improved, said the new man at the helm of the ACC champions.
“We are very aggressive defensively. In the qualifying tournament we conceded fewer points than our opponents,” he explained.
Last year, Etoile Sportive du Sahel defeated six-time ACC winners Primeiro D’Agosto 82-60 in the Final with Macram Ben Romdhane named MVP of the tournament.
Asked to describe the potential of their opponents, Gavriel revealed he arrives in Malabo well revised.
“I have watched some videos of Primeiro D’Agosto, and I think they are the strongest opponent in the tournament," he offered.
“We have defeated Al Ittihad [in the qualifier], but things may be different in Malabo.
“D’Agosto, Petro de Luanda, Libolo, Al Itthiad and my team are strong teams. The Rwandese team [Espoir] seems to be quite strong too.
“This is going to be strongest tournament in the recent years,” Gavriel explained.
The contenders
There have been many changes for
Primeiro D’Agosto parted ways with Portuguese legendary coach Mário Palma, and 1992 Angolan Olympian Paulo Macedo took the helm.
Veteran Miguel Lutonda (who turns 41 on 24 December), will take part in the tournament with D’Agosto, in his final official competition.
Angolan champions Recreativo do Libolo have signed Mali international Mohamed Tangara, and last week they signed Luís Magalhaes, a man that helped D’Agosto to win their last ACC three years ago.
Petro de Luanda head coach Lazare Adingono of Cameroon will be the only coach in this year's tournament who reached the podium last year, after helping host club Moroccon AS Sale come in third.
Petro de Luanda will be counting on two prominent names of international African competitions, Carlos Morais and Parfait Bitee.
Rwandese side Espoir are expecting to make an impact on the tournament, according to their head coach Jean Bahufite.
“We have been doing well in the league which is a good sign for my team,” he told the local press.
“I hope we will go there (ACC) with strong character and mentality.
“We have a winning team and I am confident we can maintain our winning streak at the African Club Champions Cup,” said the former Espoir star.
From Spain to Malabo
While host side Mongomo Basket Club have signed 32-year-old Miguel Montañana, Egyptian side Al Ahly will be without Tunisia captain Amine Rzig who suffered a knee injury last week.
Montañana, a 2.06m power forward, who competed at the 2000 European Championship for Young Men, is a well known to Spain’s fans.
He is part of the country's golden generation and played alongside Carlos Cabezas, Jose Calderon, Juan-Carlos Navarro, Felipe Reyes and Pau Gasol.
He started his basketball career at FC Barcelona.
Nigerian side Kano Pillars, ASB Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon's Manga Basket and Ivory Coast's Abidjan Basket Club (ABC) complete the 12-team field.
You can follow the African Champions Cup by going here.

KENYA : Co-op banks Warriors to charge way into play-off Semis

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Updated on 26/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO
2011 KBF Premier League Defending Champions Co-op Bank were in exemplary form when they humbled Defence Forces side Ulinzi Warriors 75-56 to ensure they inched closer to defending their title by qualifying for the semi-finals of the play-offs after winning game 2 of the best 3.
Last weekend Co-op Bank had managed to hold off Ulinzi with a slight win (60-59) and the win on Sunday afternoon at the Nyayo Gymnasium ensured the bankers are well on course to defend their title.
Co-op Bank started well raking in 17 points against Ulinzi’s 10 points in the first quarter. Cop defended so well pinning Ulinzi who could not manage even a single point in the opening 7 minutes of play, but with 3 minutes to the end of the quarter Ulinzi woke up to save face with quick baskets.
In the 2nd quarter, the Bankers maintained dominance with rookie Antony Abondo impressive on the first breaks to ensure they take the quarter at 18 points against their opponent’s 10 points to put the half time scores at 35-20.
Titus Musembi was a constant threat to the Ulinzi defense line with his electrifying speed and dribbles and no wonder he achieved 15points for the Bankers while Joseph Khaemba gave the Defending Champions 10 points. William Ochieng who has also been impressive throughout the season for Eliud Nzioka’s side had 18 points the highest in the match.
Ulinzi managed to win the 3rd quarter (19-16) to put the total scores at 51-39 with Ochieng still at the fore front of the Ulinzi attack while Brian Busu marshaled the Defending Champions. The last quarter saw Co-op Bank maintain their lead taking it 24-17 to ensure they play the semis.
In the other matches played at the Nyayo Gymnasium 2011 Champions in the ladies category Eagle Wings edged out Strathmore Swords 61-29 to book a semi-final slot. Hilda Indasi led USIU Flames with 18 points to hold off NYTA Shimba Hills 45-35 in another quarter final match. The Co-op Bank ladies team also won their match against Western Delight taking the day with 54 points against 27 points.
The play-offs will continue next weekend.

KENYA : USIU Tigers claw Strathmore to earn semi-final spot

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Updated on 26/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO
Thika Road based USIU Tigers on Sunday afternoon earned a place in the semi-finals of the Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League Play-offs when they beat their arch rivals and fellow students Strathmore Blades 75-67 in game two of the best of three series.
The win ensured that USIU proceed to the next stage after they overcame Strathmore 74-70 on Saturday avoiding a game three. The two teams were neck to neck in most parts of the match with the 1st quarter ending 19-19 and when the 2nd quarter resumed the situation was more of the same with USIU managing 12 points while Blades had 11 points to put the half time scores at 31-30 in favor of the Tigers.
The 3rd quarter saw both team push to the limit and Blades had a one point advantage at the end getting 19 points against the Tigers 18 points to put the final scores at 49-49.
The highlight of the match came in the dying minutes of the well attended match at the Nyayo Gymnasium. With just a minute to go Strathmore were leading their opponents 61-59 but in a quick turn of events Evans Leting who has been in exceptional form throughout the season was fouled and 1 of the ensuing 2 free throws awarded managed to bring the scores to 61-60. A few seconds later Leting was at it once more and he was fouled again and the free throw awarded brought the scores to 61-61.
Strathmore who could not afford to lose kept attacking and this bore fruit as they were also awarded 2 free throws after Samuel Odera was fouled with 5 seconds to go and the scores being level (61-61). In order to have a chance to play game three Strathmore had to beat USIU with 4 points or more in game two of the series but as the situation was if the free throws were capitalized then the time (5 seconds to go) would be done and the Blades would not have achieved this technical aspect so when Odera stepped up to take the free throws he deliberately faltered missing both the free throws and the match ended forcing an overtime to get the winner.
In the overtime, Tigers came out more tactical and with South Sudanese import Ramadhan Arou pulling the strings in attack they managed quick 4 points while Blades struggled a bit to catch up. In the end Blades suffered their 4th defeat to the Tigers and it seems their only way they would redeem themselves is when the two teams meet in the Kenya Universities Sports Association Basketball League. The win against Strathmore pits the Tigers against Mombasa based Kenya Ports Authority in the semis.

ZIMBABWE ; Abra Simzz to Hold Basketball Tournament

US . -based Zimbabwean music producer Simukai Mandizvidza, better known as Abra Simzz in entertainment circles, will on December 1 host a basketball tournament at the Harare International School.
Harare's eight high schools would battle it out for the top position at the tournament dubbed 'All Star Weekend'.
Outstanding players would walk away with various prizes including a plasma television and gift vouchers among others.
Schools selected include St John's High, St John's College, St George's College, Gateway, Prince Edward, Churchill, Eaglesvale and Mufakose high schools.
They are expected to provide four players and each team would consist of 16 players, coach and managers.
Simzz encouraged the students to showcase their talent and be rewarded.
"We are aiming to highlight star players in the country and give them an opportunity to grow and acquire scholarships.
"The age groups selected for the competition range from 14-17 years," he said
Simzz said they were investing in the future generation and ploughing back into the community.
The determined producer also pointed that sports presented a bridge between music and other activities.
"It is awesome for the youths to be remembered and I want them to feel rewarded and help them achieve their goals," he said.
Top urban groove artists Cindy Munyanyi, Charisma, Trey Young and Ten Diamond are expected to entertain the crowds.
Recently, the youthful producer embarked on a tourism drive and launched a programme christened "Adopt a Block", aimed at cleaning the capital ahead of the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

TANZANIA : Robert Cup Tourney Closes With a Bang

THE Robert Cup 2012 basketball tournament culminated in Mwanza at the weekend with the region's young players overcoming their senior counterparts 48-33 in an entertaining clash at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) venue.
Mwanza Regional Basketball Association (MRBA) organized the annual tournament in cooperation with the Kabaka family in the memory of the family's member, the late Robert Chacha Kabaka, who was one of the founders of Butimba Spider Club and a dedicated basketball stakeholder in the region.
MRBA Acting Secretary General, Kizito Bahati, said this year's tournament experienced changes in terms of the format, in which participating players requested that there should be a duel involving young players and veterans.
"This year's tournament brought together two outfits, the first comprising players that have been competing in the event prior to 2001 while the other had players that have been participating from 2002 up to present", he said.
Bahati said in the past, the tournament was played either in league or bonanza format but, this time around, the players requested to change the format, in which the new approach was to involve young players against the veterans.
He said the young players led throughout the four quarters of the match, in which they were 12-10 ahead in the first quarter and then led 13-6, 10-9 and 13-8 respectively in the remaining quarters. Sebastian Marwa scored 12 points to lead the rest of the young players' squad to the triumph, followed by Baraka Lucas and Henrico Maengela, who had eight points apiece.
In the veterans' squad, Selemani Abdula was the top scorer with 17 points, followed by Amri Mohamed, Shomari Almas and Benson Nyasebwa, who scored five points apiece. "The match also served as a special occasion to bid farewell to basketball players studying at SAUT and are about to graduate.
The players have been representing SAUT team in the Robert Cup for the past three years", said Bahati. He mentioned the players as Baraka Lucas and Benson Nyasebwa, with the latter having been participating in the Robert Cup for over ten years.
Nyasebwa had started competing in the event when he was studying at Butimba Teachers Training College and representing Musoma's Mwembeni Club at the time. The Minister for Labour and Youth Development, Gaudensia Kabaka, who is MRBA matron and the mother of the late Robert, issued an advice to the players via the phone saying the latter should use sports to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and Malaria, as the tournament's slogan, Basketball against HIV/AIDS, suggested.
She also insisted that sports serve as the better opportunity for youths to meet and exchange constructive ideas. Participating players in the tournament came from the region's clubs including Bugando Planet, Bugando Heat, Bugando Warriors, Butimba Spiders, Mwembeni of Musoma, Dolphin Pasiansi, SAUT, Mwanza Eagles, St Francis and Nyakato Brandon.

25 November 2012

KENYA : Tigers survive Blades scare to win Game 1

Updated on 25/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

USIU Tigers on Saturday afternoon managed to beat Strathmore Blades 70-74 to win game one of the KBF Premier League Play-offs quarter final stage. The highly volatile match saw USIU take the 1st quarter 16-13 but slumped in the 2nd quarter (16-21) to allow Strathmore easy passage. This put the half time scores at 34-32 in favor of the Blades.
The Tigers were more rejuvenated in the 3rd quarter with Ramadhan Aron and Evans Letting pulling the strings for the Thika Road based students, capitalizing on the free throws but it was not enough since Strathmore were more determined to end their streak of losses this year to the Tigers and they managed to hold off their opponents to a 19 point draw to end the quarter at 51-53 in favor of the Blades.
In the last quarter, it was a more of a see-saw affair with both teams exchanging the lead but USIU were the more composed of the two and with six minutes to go Strathmore faltered missing 3 out of the 4 free throws that they were awarded after a foul was called on Aron for elbowing Pascal Nabwana. In the process of the foul Aron was forced to sit out the rest of the match.
Blades point guard Nickson Konya who was influential in the side’s attack also fouled out with 4 minutes to go and this is the point where Tigers managed to punch misery to Tony Ochieng’s side. With just a minute to go, Letting managed to sink in 3 free throws awarded.
Strathmore attempted rallying back introducing David Ogolla to marshal the attack but with 48 seconds to go he lost the ball and Letting with the counter attack managed to seal the win for the Tigers with 2 points.
The two teams meet again on Sunday for the game two and if Tigers win the match they would have secured a spot in the semis while a Blades’ win will force game 3 to be played.
11/12/19/11 04/12/11/14
13 pts Emma Nyakweba 15 pts Natalie Akinyi
10 pts Linda Alando
U.S.I.U. FLAMES 33/73 VS N.Y.T.A. SHIMBA 17/46
23/10/21/19 08/09/16/13
26 pts Hilda Indasi 14 pts Peter Thundecia
12 pts Zipporah Odhiambo
11/09/16/17 04/12/13/18
12 pts Everlyn Nora 18 pts Melissa Akinyi

TUNISIA : National Basketball 'A' Division Championship - Delayed Games - Results

Tunis — Results of Tunisia's National Basketball "A" Division Championship Day 10 and Day 11 delayed games played Saturday afternoon:
Day 10:
Etoile du Sahel - EO Goulette 69-56
US Monastir - C. Africain 65-73
Day 11:
JS Manazeh - Ezzahra Sport 57-59 ...

NIGERIA : D'Tigers Still Strong On the Continent

Nigeria national basketball team D'Tigers, has continued to make statements on the continent by reataining its position as the second best team in Africa. The feat is coming after an impressive outing at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela and the London Olympic Games appearance in London.
The standing has gone to show the respect the team commands in the world of basketball.
Pundits have over the years predicted that the Nigerian basketball team was a sleeping giant. With the input the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the London Olympic games have afforded D'Tigers, efforts are currently in place to make the national basketball team to beat in Africa by building upon the substantial success achieved at the London Olympic Games.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation president, Tijjani Umar had told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND SPORTS that the federation's utmost desire after the Olympics outing was to consolidate by winning the African Cup of Nations which the D'Tigers have never won. He said the plan the federation is putting on ground is to ensure that once the jinx is broken in Cote d'Ivoire next year, Nigeria will retain it for a long time.
Already from the grapevine, there are reports that a former star player of D'Tigers, Ime Udoka is the potential replacement for Ayo Bakare, the present Coach of D'Tigers who took the team to the historic first time Olympics appearance thereby enabling the current status at the African rankings.
Angola currently holds the first position in the FIBA Africa ranking order. D'Tigers have earned 112.6 points as compared to Angola's 143.0 points. The national female team currently holds the 4th position at the FIBA ranking table with 33.6 points behind Mali, Senegal and Angola.

UGANDA : Warriors face Falcons in FUBA men's final

Warriors face Falcons in FUBA men's final

Falcons Steven Omony (R) takes on KIU Titans Mike Makiadi during semi-final play-offs at YMCA. PHOTO/Michael Nsubuga
By Charles Mutebi

Final: Warriors v Falcons

It is the FUBA men’s top division finals many wanted to see, one that promises plenty of fireworks. Now everyone awaits Game 1 for the first clue of where the 2012 championship is headed.

Everyone with the potential exception of the UCU Canons and KIU Titans, the two teams who lost to the Warriors and Falcons respectively in the best-of-five semifinals.
Phillip Ameny snatched a game-high 21 and 11 rebounds as the Falcons defeated KIU 72-57 in Game 5 Friday at the MTN Arena.

Steven Omony added 12 points and 15 rebounds, Goeff Omondi and Abdallah Ramadan made 13 apiece for the Falcons, who led from wire to wire.
Michael Makiadi grabbed a team-high 13 points and 12 rebounds for KIU, with Richard Osano and Salim Ali adding 11 apiece.
Francis Kasekende, with 10 points, was the fourth Titan in double figures but despite the distribution of points, KIU were ultimately overmatched by a Falcons team with superior individual talent.

And it was the same story for UCU, whose overreliance on Desmond Owili and Sudi Ulanga for points inevitably proved their undoing against Kyambogo in Game 5.
While Owili drained a playoff-high 29 points (and 17 rebounds), the Warriors partly triumphed because they restricted Ulanga to 11 points, the lowest he has scored in the series.
By contrast, Kyambogo got big nights from Ivan Enabu and Michael Karuiki, two players, who had hitherto made little impact on the series.
Enabu, who incredibly scored no points in the last two games, sunk a team-high 19 points while Kariuki got 15 points and 11 rebounds.
In the end, it is the top two seeds that made it to the finals, leaving KIU and especially UCU to reflect on another near miss. UCU’s lack of sportsmanship remains a big challenge and the Canons must learn that one of the greatest virtues of sport is learning to lose with dignity.
For Owili, who had just had the performance of his FUBA career, to end Game 5 by committing nasty intentional fouls and asking his team-mates to do the same was just shameful - FUBA’s impotence in the face of such violence remains just as shocking.

And for some UCU players to refuse to shake hands with the Warriors after the series, well, it was childish and classless. With that attitude, UCU’s failure to reach the finals will continue to get few sympathisers.

UGANDA : It’s a Warriors-Falcons 2012 Fuba playoff final

Warriors centre Gombya (with ball) elated the packed NCS arena.
Warriors centre Gombya (with ball) elated the packed NCS arena. Photos by Ismail Kezaala.
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo
Five years have passed since Falcons and Warriors contested a Fuba League final with the former coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. The two best teams at the end of this year’s regular season will face-off in the final for the first time since 2007 starting this week. They came through their respective best-of-five semifinals 3-2 on Friday night. Falcons beat KIU Titans 72-57 and Warriors overcame UCU Canons 73-63.
Centre Philip Ameny scored 21 points and added 11 rebounds to take Falcons to their first final in four years. DMark Power beat them 3-1 on their last trip.
It’s been years of toil and pain crowned by the death of founder and patron John Ssimbwa last year. Fittingly, the record champions with six titles had a portrait of him on their bench.
That may not have spurred Falcons into demolition mode but they did just enough. Stephen Omony added 12 points and 15 rebounds whereas Geoff Omondi and Peter Elungat scored 13 apiece. They restricted KIU’s top scorer – Michael Makiadi – to 12 points – one more than what each of Salim Ali and Richard Osano managed. The latter two had combined for 44 in Game Four.
If that game was incident free, UCU, a university side just like KIU, lost their heads again to go down 3-2 to Warriors for a third successive season at the same stage. The umpires dished no less than six un-sportsman fouls to UCU in the fourth period with Boniface Okello being ejected for accumulating two.
Warriors’ guard Ivan Enabu resurrected to play his best game this season. It was worth 19 points and three assists, and earned him cheers only rivaled by Sam Gombya’s during the introductions.
“God works in mysterious ways,” Enabu, still searching for a first championship, said. “It has been a very hard trip to the finals. I hope we win this time.”
Fourth final
This is going to be Warriors’ fourth successive appearance in the final. They have emerged triumphant only once – 2009. To get here, Michael Kariuki gave them a fast start with 10 of his 15 points and 10 rebounds coming in the first half. Ronnie Kasewu, the 2009 MVP, added 10. “I have lots of memories with Falcons,” veteran Henry Malinga, a Falcon until 2009, said. “This is a final and I always play my best in the final.”
A teary-eyed Sudi Ulanga blamed himself as none his 11 points came in the fourth period, a second successive game this has happened. Desmond Owili put up their last stand with 29 points and 17 rebounds. UCU just didn’t do enough offensively besides Owili. The cancer of not winning close-out games like one they had last Sunday when they held a 2-1 lead continues to let them down.

24 November 2012

UGANDA : Warriors, Falcons storm ANBL playoff finals

Warriors, Falcons storm ANBL playoff finals
Ivan enabu scored 9 fourth quarter points to lead warriors to a third successive playoff finals appearance. The point guard who has been quiet in the series scored post season high 19 points to pace Warriors to a 73-63 win over UCU Canons Friday night in game 5.
Center, Micheal Kariuki added 15 points 9 coming in the first quarter to jump start the victory that set up a Warriors-Falcons finals.
UCU trailed for the first two quarters and took the lead for the first time in the game off Martin Okwako's mid range jumper with 2:55 in the third period. However the lead did not last for long as back-to-back 3-pointers from Ronnie Kasewu (10 points) took warriors back up 49-47 with 57 seconds to end the third quarter and the back-to-back losing finalists did not trail again.
UCU's center, Desmond Owili nailed game high 29 points and picked 17 rebounds in a losing effort. Suudi Ulanga had a tough night scoring just 11 points as Warriors' number 2 sirus kiviri was all over him through out the game. Warriors will face Falcons who beat KIU TItans 72-57 earlier. Big man, Philip Ameny powered Falcons to the playoff finals with game/team high 21points

KENYA : Tigers vs Blades, who will draw 1st blood?

Updated on 23/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

The KBF Premier League play-offs will be heading into the second weekend and United States International University (USIU-A) take on arch rivals Strathmore University on Saturday evening from 6:00 pm in their 1st game of the quarter final stage.
They will meet again a day later (Sunday) for game two from 2:00pm and if either team beats the other (wins both games) in the two matches then they will have a 2 game advantage out of the possible 3 and will have earned a ticket to the semis.
Tigers of USIU have been the better side this year since they have managed to overcome Strathmore on both occasions (1st and 2nd leg of the normal league) and they will be heading into the play-offs with an intention of maintaining the streak.
In their first match USIU beat ‘Blades’ 76-64 in a tense match played back in June at the monthly Friday Night Basketball with fan trouble marring the match.In the encounter Chris Mulumba and Aron Ramadhan were in outstanding form for the Tigers with Mulumba sinking in 16 points while Aron had 12. Strathmore’s David Ogolla gave his best efforts and on that evening with 18 points the highest in the match but that was not enough to salvage the win for the Madaraka based side.
Come October, the two teams were at it again for the 2nd leg of the fixture and Strathmore were so close yet so far after they were beaten by USIU with a margin of 2 points the game ending 61-63. Evans Leting on that occasion helped his side (Tigers) with 21 points while Valentine Nyakinda gave the Blades 24 points.
The weekend fixtures will be worth not missing with coaches Tony Ochieng (Strathmore) and David Maina (USIU) both looking to ensure that their teams head into the semi-final stage. With players at the caliber of Leting, Aron,Nyakinda and Ogolla the matches will prove to be a stage for fireworks and it is only the court that will decide who goes back home or proceeds to the next stage.

23 November 2012

UGANDA : FUBA ANBL Playoffs: KIU, UCU in deciders against league giants

FUBA ANBL Playoffs: KIU, UCU in deciders against league giants

At Lugogo
KIU Titans Vs Falcons 6:30pm
Warriors Vs UCU Canons 8:30pm

The ANBL playoff semifinal action returns to Lugogo Indoor Stadium this evening with two university sides seeking to make finals for the first time.
KIU Titans tied the series against Falcons at 2-2 after holding on to a 72-70 win on Wednesday night at YMCA to take the best of five series to a decider. The closely defensive series opened up in game 4 when both teams for the first time scored more than 56 points and without doubt game 5 will be an offensive affair. Steven Omony has averaged 14.5 points in these series and leads the falcons offense along with big man, Philip Ameny who has averaged 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the four games. The pair will try to push Falcons back to the finals after a two year absence at the climax of the post season. “They deserve to be here so do we but going into tonight’s game we have to compete with a sense of urgency for 40 minutes” Falcons’ coach Gad Eteu said. Falcons’ back court of Geoffrey Omondi and Abdalah Ramadhan has been kept at bay throughout the series and have to step up.
Former Falcon, Richard Osano has led KIU throughout the series averaging 14.5 points. The forward, along with point guard, Salim Ali who exploded for 25 points in game 4 will lead the university side’s quest for a place in this year’s finals. “We did not do a good job on Ali but today we will” Eteu added. Center, Micheal Makiadi bettered Ameny on the boards and will be important in Titans’ defensive game along with Moses Olobo. KIU’s starting #2, Nelson Njau will be vital on both ends of the floor especially the offensive end if gets his shots falling.
Meanwhile UCU Canons who shouted their intensions from the house tops with elimination of Dmark Power allowed Warriors an unlikely route back to set up a third successive game 5 match-up at this level. Suudi Ulanga has been in the pink of form throughout the post season and has averaged 17.5 points in these particular series and along with center, Desmond Owili who has bested all warriors big men and averaged 13.8 points will lead UCU’s push for a place in the finals. Martin Okwako, Boniface Okello and Brian Namake off the bench will be important in the push with their defensive abilities.
However, UCU’s point may play to Warriors’ advantage. The form and choice of shots by their starting point guard is nowhere near the best and it is no different for the substitute, Innocent Odur whose form has gone down as the post season progresses. Warriors have not had a consistent scorer in these series and all players have been average. “It’s just another game but it is going to be totally different” Warriors guard, Sirus Kiviri said. With last year’s match up being decided in Over Time and also seeing just 3 Canons complete the game, Nicholas Natuhereza has improved his team’s defensive and mental discipline as well as attitude 10-fold and surely the team won’t face similar foul trouble.
Which teams do you reckon will go through?

KENYA : KPA Set to Host Sprite Storms At Makande

KENYA Ports Authority (KPA) will host Sprite Storms in Mombasa this weekend as the women's premier league basketball play offs start.
The porters, who are the top seeds will play Game One on Saturday with Game Two the following day at their Makande Welfare hall backyard.
Storms, who did not travel to the coastal town for the return match, must be at their best to upset the form book. In the other matches to be played at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium, reigning champions Eagle Wings have a date with Strathmore University.
Kakamega based Western Delight will make a journey to the city to take on Co-operative Bank of Kenya. Second seed United States International University (USIU) who managed their best placing in years through the individual efforts of national team star Hilda Indasi, will lock horns against NYTA Shimba Hills in what should be an exiting match up.
KPA men will also welcome Thunder in the only men's quarter finals that was not played while Co-op Bank who nipped Ulinzi 60-59 will hope to finish off the soldiers in Game Two on Saturday.
In the Nairoi Basketball Association (NBA) final Game Three ties, Strathmore University play Equity while in the women's match, Strathmore University meet Kenyatta University "Oryx". The best of five series are tied 1-1.

TANZANIA : Bugando Warriors Humiliate St Francis in Basketball

BUGANDO Warriors boosted their chances of triumphing in this year's Mwanza Regional Basketball League with a 64-28 drubbing of St. Francis at the former's venue earlier this week.
Mwanza Regional Basketball Association (MRBA) has organized the league with a view to promote the sport in the region, apart from putting the participating players in great shape ahead of major domestic and regional competitions.
Bugando Warriors, currently one of the league favourites, were impressive in almost all four quarters of the game and they gave their inexperienced opponents little room to display whatever tricks at their disposal and ultimately the former came out with the comfortable win.
St. Francis, for that matter, continued to experience a frustrating spell in the league as they have experienced a third straight defeat in their campaign to consequently settle for an outsider status in the title race.
Bugando Warriors, an off shoot of the region's basketball giants, Bugando Planet, have so far enjoyed a promising run in the tournament, having defied the odds to edge a couple of the league's big guns to substantiate their ability to successfully lay hands on silverware.
In one of Bugando Warriors' memorable exploits in this year's event, they edged their elder brothers, Bugando Planet, 58-57 in a tightly contested October 27 duel that unveiled the former's increasing tenacity.
In another match held the same day, Butimba Spiders scrapped through to a 48-40 victory over Bugando Heat, which is yet another Bugando Planet offshoot.
Despite battling hard in the game, Bugando Heat failed to get the better of the more experienced Spiders, whose strong performances in a couple of the past games have proved the team is also keen on making the most of its participation in this year's event.
Spiders had an emphatic 62-16 victory over Eagle in the October 28 game played at the former's venue located a few kilometers away from the Mwanza city centre and that certainly issued a strong warning to the rest of the competitors in the event.
Other teams competing in the league are Dolphin Pasiansi, Dragon, Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) Stars and SAUT Warriors. Apart from serving as an opportunity for the Mwanza basketball players to enjoy regular participation in the sport, the league is also a timely build up for the players ahead of the Robert Cup that will be held later this month.

22 November 2012

UGANDA : KIU force fifth date with Falcons

Men: KIU 72-70 Falcons (series tied at 2-2)
Women : Stormers 42-49 KCCA (KCCA win series 3-1)
Kampala International University Basketball Club is on the brink of making history if they can win their game five against record champions Falcons. KIU manage a 72-70 win over the six time champions in game four on Wednesday night at the YMCA courts in Wandegeya.
It was Salim Ali with 25 points and former Falcon Richard Osano with 19 who inspired KIU to point that might see them re-write history. Falcon's Stephen Omony who tried to match Salim’s performance with 24 points, 10 of which came in the third period.
Omony's teammate Philip Ameny was restricted to only 15 points who he complimented that with nine rebounds. The centre still failed to match KIU in the rebound’s column as Michael Makiadi came out on top with 19 rebounds.
KIU has never been in the finals just like Uganda Christian University Canons who are also tied 2-2 with former champions Warriors.
The women’s finals will for the third time running future KCCA Leopards and holders UCU Lady Canons after the former edged Magic Stormers 49-42 to win tier series 3-1.

UGANDA : Offensive inconsistency worries hopefuls

Warriors’ Norman  Blick has literally been absent and must step up.

Warriors’ Norman Blick has literally been absent and must step up. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA
Warriors and UCU Canons head into Game Five of their Fuba League best-of-five semifinal playoff series decider with similar concerns.
Some of their leading players have faded with each passing game. The Warriors’ pair of Norman Blick and Ivan Enabu and UCU skipper Martin Okwako are the biggest culprits.
Forward Okwako started the series productively having stood out in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over DMark Power.
In the 74-68 Game One victory, he had 12 points and four rebounds to go with five turnovers. Since then, his highest tally has been three points in Game Three.
This has greatly increased the offensive burden on Sudi Ulanga and Desmond Owili who have bagged double figures in all but one game, the 66-56 loss in Game Two. “It’s clear our biggest problem now is to get Martin scoring again. If we get that right, then everything will be fine,” UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza admitted.
Okwako’s slump has coincided with sixth man Brian Namake’s. His six points in the 65-51 Game Four loss, a series-high, came with 12 rebounds at the cost of six turnovers.
Mandy Juruni, the Warriors coach, is not any better. Blick has declined from 19 points in the Game One loss to two 10-point games and a two-point return as they tied the series 2-2. The 19-point show also had 10 turnovers. Enabu, who has had a poor season, is much worse. His stats started with two points and two assists.
Thereafter, he contributed three points and five assists. That was the last of Enabu’s contributions. The guard has had two successive scoreless games.
Enabu also had four assists in Game Three and none in the Sunday victory. “In Game Four, they (Blick and Enabu) were not up for it. They put themselves under too much pressure,” Juruni, hoping to beat UCU 3-2 for a third year running, said.
Even Cyrus Kiviri, Warriors’ top scorer with 16 points to force a decider, is not being spared as that’s the only game he has stood out, something Juruni has acknowledged.
“If one player doesn’t show up, I will go with whoever is ready on the day,” Juruni said. Whereas Ulanga and Owili have been consistent for UCU, Juruni cannot even single out one who has been.

21 November 2012

EGYPT : The hope of Egypt women’s team

SHEFFIELD (Júlio Chitunda’s African Message) – Most basketball leagues seasons around the world have just started, and it is difficult to predict the outcome.
But for US colleges recruiting Egyptian girls as never before, it is a major success for the North African country.
The last three years have become extremely promising for Egypt women’s basketball.
Not only because their youth teams have established as a potential force in Africa following two U16 African silver medals (2009 and 2011), and one gold medal (2010) plus a bronze (2012) in U18, but because they seem to be seeking higher goals.
Never before have Egypt had as many young girls playing at USA colleges as they currently have.
Since their world exposure at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, in Chile, three players have crossed the Atlantic to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Reem Moussa is a sophomore with Rice University, while Hala Elshaarawy is a freshman Saint Peter’s - both Division 1 colleges - and Dina Ragab is in her first season with Division 2 New York Institute of Technology (NYIT).
Many more expect to follow the way, I am told.
At the FIBA U19 worlds in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, Hagar Amer finished as the event's second leading with 19.2 points per game behind Brazil's Damiris Dantas, the MVP of the showdown.
Amer had such a great tournament, that she recorded two double-doubles, a game-high 29 points and 14 rebounds in 73-94 defeat to Argentina and 22 points and 11 rebounds in 76-54 loss to Italy.

Alongside Amer, her teammate Elshaarawy averaged two block shots per game, more than any other player in the tournament. Despite this, Egypt lost all four of their games, finishing second last, just above Nigeria, who had withdrawn from the tournament.
As it has been 11 years since Egypt women’s national team last played an Afrobasket, this new generation of players is bearing the country’s flag internationally.
Beside those young players, Egypt’s women’s team may in a near future include both Soraia Deghady and Ola El Temsahi, a duo that made tremendous contribution at the 2012 U18 Afrobasket in Dakar this past September.
The 17-year-old Deghady is one of the best youth point guards on the African continent.
She was named the 2011 U16 Afrobasket MVP, and more recently was selected to this year's U18 Afrobasket All-Tournament Team alongside Senegal's Yacine Diop, the Malian duo of Mariam Kone and Aminata Traore, and Tunisia's Hamrouni Houda.
I caught up with Deghady to find out more about her basketball goals.
A quick thinking player with great ability to lead, Deghady likes shooting and reading her “opponents’ movements,” she told me, before pointing out that the secret of Egypt's youth national teams is based on spirit of sacrifice to each other.

“We are all friends,” she said.
However, Egypt’s ambition to win their consecutive U18 Afrobasket title fell short to Mali after a 69-54 in the Semi-Final, last September.
Deghady – who is fluent in English, Arabic – remains upbeat: “Youth international tournaments are great for us because we get more experienced and we learn a lot.”
And the secondary school student is aiming to play college basketball because she wants “to improve” her game and “play at high level.”
Meanwhile, Egypt U18 head coach Haysam Eid is even more confident about his country’s basketball future based on the new generation of players.
“Soraia is a clever player as she is able to handle the game the way I ask her to,” he said.
“She is not a tall player, but she has good vision, ability to penetrate to the basket as well as great ability to assist and she is a natural leader.
“All she needs to do to help our country is keeping working the way she has been doing so far.”
Egypt women’s team finished seventh at the 10-team 2001 Afrobasket, held in Tunisia. They registered wins over Niger (100-54) and Ivory Coast (80-76), but then lost to DR Congo (94-79), Angola (80-72) and Tunisia (73-68).
With so much talent at their disposal, and if all goes as planned, Egypt may soon find a new chapter in their women’s basketball history.
Júlio Chitunda

NIGERIA : Nigeria Basketball to decide future

15. Olumide OYEDEJI (Nigeria)
Olumide OYEDEJI (Nigeria). Greece v Nigeria. 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men, Quarter-Finals. 6 July 2012
LAGOS - This past summer, Nigeria's men’s team became a hot topic of conversation following an astonishing performance at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), before they competed at the London Games.
In the coming few weeks, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) will announce their future objectives and strategies which will affect all basketball categories in the country.
Nigeria's men’s took on Venezuela, Lithuania - on two occasions - Greece, Russia, the Dominican Republic, Tunisia, USA, Argentina and France at the OQT and the Men's Olympic Tournament.
It was an unusual but successful summer for the African team, the NBBF said, especially after they upset European giants Greece 80-79 at the OQT, a win that catapulted them to the elite 12-team field that gathered in London.
With that, the Nigerians became the first African team to secure a place at the Olympics via the OQT.
Their 156-73 defeat to the USA stained their Olympic appearance as it set a record for most points conceded by a team in the Games' history.
Three months have passed since then and the D’Tigers are looking ahead to a new era.
Ayodele Bakare, the man who guided Nigeria from Afrobasket 2011 in Antananarivo, Madagascar to Caracas, Venezuela and onto London, has written a report revealing the Olympic adventure and he recommended points that he considers crucial for the future of the game in the country.
Despite the four defeats and lone win, Nigeria’s head coach at the Games, Bakare believes that they became a world-class basketball programme.
In the meantime, he admits that, in order to hold on to a world powerhouse status, the structure and the organisation [NBBF] must be world-class too.
“This will ensure that we keep and improve on those things which helped us get to the top: world-class coaches, world-class players, world-class preparation for our teams, world-class motivation, plus world-class tournaments and tours,” Bakare wrote.
Very few know if Bakare will be reappointed to the post.
But he is adamant that Nigeria cannot sustain the current momentum of growth if they “do not have standard facilities that can host major tournaments, clinics and even our national team programs.”
“If we fail to win a ticket to the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the qualifying tournament [Afrobasket] next July, it will be because we failed to do what needed to be done this year October, November or December for example,” Bakare added.
Thanks to their performances over the summer, Nigeria's men moved up the FIBA Ranking to 17th, the highest world ranked position held by one of the country's national sports teams.
The London experience and way forward
Nigeria were hit by injuries in London, which some say disrupted Bakare’s team’s ability to perform at the level they did in Caracas three weeks earlier.
Tony Skinn and Ade Dagunduro got injured earlier in the tournament limiting Nigeria’s options.
Then in the most-expected game for Nigerian fans, they suffered their biggest defeat ever at the hands of the Americans.
That game, Bakare wrote, “was not winnable by any stretch of the imagination, but we had a chance against either Argentina or France.
“So, did we plan to lose by 83 points?” Bakare questioned.
“We most certainly did not,” he explained.
“We played the game determined to give our best effort. However, we could not compete with the transition and perimeter play of the Americans, especially because we had lost our efficiency at the crucial point guard position.
“Ade Dagunduro had already stopped playing before this game and Tony Skinn was a mere shadow of himself as he limped to a 1 for 7 (14%) shooting performance for the period he was able to stay in the game before also succumbing to his injuries.”
For Bakare, the 156-73 scoreline “did not reflect the heart or the abilities of the Nigerian team. It was just one of those nights when we had insurmountable manpower deficiencies, and we played our worst game while they played their best.”
The NBBF view
NBBF President Tijjani Umar recognised that “a lot has been achieved”, but “a lot more has to be done,” he told FIBA.com.
When asked what the future holds for the NBBF, he revealed that “they are working on the future of the basketball in the country,” and that they “are receiving CVs from head coaches from around the world willing to work with us.”
Whenever the decision is made, Umar says they will be working closely with players and coaching staff.
The NBBF planning involves contacting players, beforehand telling them that the NBBF has identified them to work with the team in 2013.
“We will seek to work very closely with their clubs, possibly pay them a visit and introduce a process of how players are doing in their clubs”, Umar said.
The future of Bakare has not been decided, but the NBBF recognises his hard work has “laid the foundations of this process. So, coach Bakare is part of this mix process.”
Among the candidates who've sent their CVs, some may be appointed to coach the women’s team, the NBBF said.

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