31 December 2012

NIGERIA : ASPAC, ESPN Zoom Into Quarter Finals of 'Mark d' Tourney

In Otukpo — Full Force of Abuja Basketball team has qualified for the quarter-final of the ongoing 'Mark D Ball' Basket tournament in Otukpo, Benue State.
In its first game, the team defeated Bethlehem Basketball team of Otukpo 37:33 while also going on to edge Braves of Makurdi 41:38 to lead Group D with 4 point.
Braves of Makurdi also qualified in the Group with 3points ahead of Bethlehem of Otukpo.
ESPN of Otukpo tops Group A after notching two win in two games and earning 4points while Veteran of Abuja (VOA) qualified as well, sitting on the second spot with 3 points. Repete Shooters of Lafia were kicked out after earning just 2 points.
ASPAC of cotonou leads the second Group with 4points after winning its two games. Apa Flames of Otukpo earned the second ticket with 3points in Group B while Hard Rockers of Abuja managed only 2points and missed out.
In Group C 'Blame It On Experience' tops though, the three teams earned 3points each but goals difference of +5 stands the Otukpo team out.
SUBA of Suleja picked the second ticket in the group ahead of Otukpo United which got kicked out as the former had a +3 goal difference against the later's -1.
In the quarter Final matches that were ongoing as at time of press ESPN were pitched against SUBA in the first game.
'Blame It On Experience' (BIOE) challenged VOA in the second quarter-final match while ASPAC took on Braves.
The final and most promising encounter of the night saw Full Force taking on Apa Flames.
Pearls of Makurdi led the females in the race for the semi-finals winning three out of their three games.
The Makurdi side earned 6points to top Group B of the Females category while Dolphins of Lagos earned 5points to pick the second slot.
Rockers of Jos lead Group A after winning their two matches with 4points while Delta Force of Asaba clinched the last qualifying spot for the semi-finals.
Rockers will now take on Dolphins in the first semi-final encounter while Pearls will challenge Delta Force for a place in the final.

NIGERIA : 19 Teams Jostle for Trophies At David Mark Tourney

In Otukpo — 19 teams are presently jostling for prizes, medals and trophies at the 2012 edition of Senate President David Mark's Basketball tournament taking place in Otukpo, Benue State.
The Media Manager of the tournament 'Mark D Ball', Joe Apu told Trustsports that the teams are made up of 12 male and seven female teams respectively.
Apart from teams from within Benue State, teams from other parts of the country and outside Nigeria are taking part in the championship that started on December 26.
Mr. Apu listed the male teams to include: ASPAC (Cotonou), Blame It On Experience (Otukpo), ESPN (Otukpo), Apa Flames (Otukpo), Otukpo United (Otupko) and Bethlehem (Otukpo).
Others are; Pepete Shooters (Lafia), SUBA Sharpshooters (Suleja), Braves (Makurdi), Mountainers (Jos), Hard Rockers (Abuja) and Veterans of Abuja.
The female category consist of; Dolphins (Lagos), Delta Force (Asaba), Beloved Sweeties (Makurdi), Pearls (Makurdi), Rockers (Jos), SAPCLN Queens (Abuja) & Apa Queens.
The coordinator of the tournament, Obande Ogbole said there were many trophies, medals and prize money to be won after the championship.
According to him, the first, second and third teams will go home with N300,000, N200000 and N100, 000 respectively.

NIGERIA : 'Mark D Ball' - Full Force, Apa Queens Makes Second Round

Full Force of Abuja Basketball team has qualified for the second round of the ongoing 'Mark D Ball' Basket tournament in Otukpo, Benue State.
In its first game, the team defeated Bethlehem Basketball team of Otukpo 37:33 while also going on to edge Braves of Makurdi 41:38 to be sure of a second round berth.
In the Female category, Apa Queens whitewashed Rockers 37:9 in their first game while also thumping Delta Force of Asaba 31:19 to win two out of two encounters.
ASPAC of Cotonou saw off Hard Rockers of Abuja 38:31 in its first game while ESPN of Otukpo beat Shooters of Lafia 52: 39 in one of the other games.
Otukpo United edged SUBA of Suleja 30: 28 in its first game but went on to lost against Blame It On Experience 29:41 in the second game. The team need a win in its third game to qualify for the next round.
Veterans of Abuja were to much for Pepete Shooters of Lafia to handle as they ran away 27:25 winners over the Nasarawa State team.
In the Female category, Beloved Sweeties of Makurdi trashed Pearls of Makurdi 41: 8 but later fell to SAPCLN Queens of Abuja 15:24 in their second encounter.
However, SAPCLN of Abuja were unable to handle the Dolphins of Lagos State as they went down 24:32 to the Lagos side in the second match. They need a win in the third game to scale through.
We were the best
Speaking after his team's victory, Skambo Morison Abuja Veterans said his team was too much for the Lafia side to handle.
"We played well and we deserved the win."
The Veteran forward expressed optimistic that the Abuja side was going to make it to the next round.
Hostility will continue on Friday night at the Otukpo Arena

UGANDA : Warriors break finals jinx

Blick (left) entrenched his standing as a legend of local basketball by inspiring Warriors over Steve Omony’s Falcons in the final of the 2012 Championship
Blick (left) entrenched his standing as a legend of local basketball by inspiring Warriors over Steve Omony’s Falcons in the final of the 2012 Championship
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo
All the pain of the previous two seasons for Warriors ended with their first National Basketball League title. The losing finalists to DMark Power in each of the past two years celebrated quicker than the last two finals which have gone the distance. Warriors’ first title since 2009 came within six games of the best-of-seven finals. An ‘old’ hand in Ronnie Kasewu, the 2009 MVP, delivered it.
His game-high 25 points, six rebounds and five assists gave Warriors an enthralling 88-81 win over Falcons and a second title with 4-2. It crowned quite a season for Warriors in which they won all but just two of their 22 regular season games giving coach Mandy Juruni an enviable 37-3 record over the past two years.
The failures of the past were corrected with the signing of Norman Blick and Cyrus Kiviri from Miracle Eagles and Ndejje University Angels respectively. Blick finished the season with not only his fifth national title but as Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the playoffs to hand Ivan Enabu his first title after years of painful failures. Blick is unquestionably up among the greatest to have played basketball in Uganda.
Power falter
As Warriors reclaimed the podium in their fourth successive appearance in the final, their rivals, Power, with whom they have contested the previous three finals, made an early exit. The introduction of quarterfinals in the postseason gave Power a tough matchup against UCU Canons in the last eight. UCU took it 2-1 and went to lose 3-2 to Warriors in the semifinals.
Power, champions in the three of the past four seasons, were brutally exposed for their lack of size and the glaring lack of set-plays. They just couldn’t contend with an improved Desmond Owili inside the UCU paint and were even worse defending Sudi Ulanga on the perimeter. Star point guard Ben Komakech was a shadow all season and his renaissance next year is the first correction Power might need to reclaim their glory.
However, they were the best performing team, along with women’s side KCCA Leopards, as they finished third in the Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championships hosted at the Lugogo MTN Arena.
The indoor venue had its own share of news as it was closed by the then NCS chairman Anthony Katamba, who was sacked or resigned, depending on who you listen to, over the saga.
The losing finalists, Falcons, had tried to force their way into the Zone V event only for their request to be turned down as only two teams were allowed per country. It was a successful season for the record champions as this was their first final appearance since losing to Power four years ago.
The past three years have been the worst in their history. Chaos started when Omony, signed for a widely reported Shs72m from Seychelles, walked out over unpaid wages.
In 2010, a player revolt over unpaid wages brought the club down to its knees. And last year, Fuba docked Falcons eight points for fielding Ameny illegally. They ended up fight Philip ing relegation.
If that was the lowest ebb, the death of founder John Ssimbwa last June could have sunk Falcons entirely. There was a lot of uncertainty even about their existence.
Somehow, chairman Dennis Mbidde put together a team capable of challenging for honours. “This season has been a success for us,” a gracious Omony, who rejoined from Miracle Eagles, added. “We have to keep this team together,” Omony challenged the management. Ameny thinks this is now his ‘family’.
“It has been quite a turnaround from last year. The team has grown to be a family. We need to learn from our mistakes and come back stronger next year.” Omony had a very consistent season but was piped to the regular season MVP accolade by Ndejje’s Geoffrey Soro who also collected the top scorer’s plaque.‘
Just like Warriors, KCCA picked up the pieces of losing 4-0 to UCU Lady Canons to win the national title coming from 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. The women’s final went down to a decider. And KCCA emerged top as UCU mourned the absence of forward Purity Odhiambo, the 2011 MVP.
Odhaimbo missed the final three games of the series following the death of her mother who was very sick throughout the playoffs. The women’s division remained a two-horse between KCCA and UCU though the return of A1 Challenge to the playoffs and the growth of Magic Stormers was a sigh of relief.
This was similar in the men’s topflight as Fuba’s decision to increase the number of topflight teams to 12 from the usual 10 exposed the gap between top and bottom.
Airtel Uganda came on board as league sponsor, ending Fuba’s seven-year marriage with MTN Uganda.
Along with Castle Lite, Rwenzori Water and Kinetic Management Group, the sponsors have improved the game. The financial details of those deals remain anyone’s guess at this point and it was quite an anticlimactic awards ceremony on the Lugogo floor.

28 December 2012

NIGERIA : Dolphin's Captain Aims for Mark D Ball Female Top Prize

Mark D Ball Tournament female defending girls champions, the Pearls of Makurdi may have their hopes of retaining the trophy this year dashed as Lagos based Dolphins have vowed to claim the top prize.
Though, this is the first time the Zenith Women Basketball League team is participating at the Otukpo tournament, Captain of the side, Tokunbo Olaoshebikan is of the believe that her side is strong enough for the title.
According to Olaoshebikan, she is not undermining all the other teams in the tournament, but that her side is better prepared and placed to take away the trophy. We left Lagos for this tournament and don't intend to go back empty handed. The distance from Lagos to Otukpo is not one that we should joke with and as such, we're here for business. Though, we've not played in this temperature and in an outdoor court like this but after our first game against SAPCLN of Abuja which we won 34-28 points, we know the strength of the other teams.
While strongly believing that other teams are working strongly for the same title, the captain insists that given all the encouragement they have gotten from their proprietor and the good welcome they received, the best they can do is to win the tournament. She stressed that having watched other teams play; she can confidently say they are as good as emerging champions.
However, the same confidence cannot be expressed by Jennifer Agunweze who is not playing the tournament after she was dropped by Apa Queens. The girl, who wore a long face could not help but express high disappointment for being dropped from the team after she was earlier picked.
"I feel terrible about the way I was dropped from the Apa Queens but it only tells me that I should work harder. About three of us were picked for the team but shortly before we were to play, I was told alongside the other girls that we were dropped. As it is now, I'm leaving the court and returning to my base in Enugu because there's no need for me to remain in town when I'm not playing. To remain here only tells me that I'm not good enough for the team and it means that I need to work harder to be better than those playing the tournament."

NIGERIA : 300 Kids Learn Basketball At Mark D'Ball Clinic

The 12th edition of Mark D' Ball Basketball Tournament which served off on Boxing Day at the Otukpo Sports Arena, gained prominence Thursday as over 300 enthusiastic kids, turned up at the clinic to learn the basics of basketball.
Senate President David Mark and Minister of Interior Comrade Abba Moro and the Ochi Idoma HRM Chief Elias Ekoyi Obekpa, were some of the dignitaries that graced the opening ceremony at the Otukpo Club.
Several foreign and local instructors as well members of the national basketball team, The Tigers were at hand to share their knowledge with the kids.
The coach of Cape Verde national team, which has already qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Alex Nwora is among the facilitators.
Nwora, who is an American citizen, is also the head coach of the Erie Community College, Buffalo, New York.
Other facilitators include, Chantel Turner, the Assistant coach at Virgin Tech, Joseph Tombo, a Cameroonian based in the US, as well as a member of the national team to London 2012, Ejike Ugboaja and former captain of the national team, Tunji Awojobi.
The Mark D Ball tournament, which ends on December 31, has suddenly turned the sleepy town of Otukpo into a melting pot for guests, revelers and some of the nation's best hip hop stars, including Tuface Idibia and Sound Sultan.
The President of the Nigerian Basket Ball Federation (NBBF) Tijani Umar, thanked the Senator Mark for providing a pedestal for the young ones to nurture their career.
Umar also said that the tournament will serve as a legacy that will outlive every participant.
Some of the male teams featuring at the event include, ASPAC of Cotonou, Apa Flames, Repete Shooters of Lafia, Hard Rockets of Abuja, Braves of Markudi and SUBA Sharpshooters of Suleija.
The female teams are Dolphin of Lagos, Delta Force of Asaba and Beloved Sweetees of Lagos.
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of a new basketball team, Mark Mentors Basketball Club, by the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Helen Mark.

24 December 2012

UGANDA : Best and Worst of 2012 Hoops

The 2012 basketball season ended with Kyambogo Warriors and KCCA Leopards walking away with the men's and ladies top honours respectively. Felix Eupal sums up the past 12 months.
Best game:
The most entertaining match of the year was a repeat of the 2011 finals between Dmark Power and Warriors in the regular season. Warriors came all out with guns blazing and by the last quarter, the game seemed wound up with Warriors leading by 20 points. That's when Power put up a performance of character and clawed their way back to snatch the enthralling game 71-68.
Worst game:
No game has looked like a practising session like Rez Life 64-113 defeat to Warriors; one team came ready to play basketball while the other turned up like the ostrich which stashes its head in sand at the first sight of danger.
Best buy:
Teams were busy in the shopping for talent but none hit the jackpot like Miracle with Tanzanian point guard Muhamed Yusuf. The way he made converting three pointers so easy makes many coaches want him on their roster next year.
Worst buy:
Power is known for transforming players. They picked Michael Kojo from second division and turned him into championship material but with Derrick Katumba, they totally got it wrong. All he did was simply make up numbers.
Airtel Uganda came on board as league sponsor, ending Fuba's seven-year marriage with MTN Uganda. Along with Castle Lite, Rwenzori Water and Kinetic Management Group, the sponsors have improved the game. Meanwhile, Fuba's decision to increase the number of topflight teams to 12 from the usual ten increased the level of competitiveness and it ensured that for the first time we had eight teams in the playoffs.
Fuba's poor time management at the Lugogo arena forced the cancellation of the UCU Canons-Falcons game. It was despicable. On the court, the KIU Titans-Warriors first round encounter where Eric Malinga messed up his knee.
Not only did his team miss his signature paint wizardry but the entire basketball fraternity will lose some spark in his absence. And despite the influx of sponsors, the federation failed to hold a dinner for the first time since 2007.

RWANDA : Hoops Teams for Regional Tourney Named

Rwanda basketball federation has named men and women national squads which will represent Rwanda at next year's Fiba Zone V Championship which will be held in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.
Head coach Moise Mutokambali, assisted by Espoir's coach Jean Bahufite who both took over men's team left by Serbian Nenad Amanovic, summoned a 26-man team including six professional players, namely; Dan Rugamba (Seattle Community College, USA), Hamza Ruhezamihigo (Concordia, Canada), Gasana Kenneth Herbert (Ass Charab Al Hoaciema, Morocco), Isom Cedric (Primiero do Agosto, Angola), Brannon Darrius (Corr. Victoria, Mexico) and Bradley Cameron Curtis (Mississipi Gulf Coast College, USA).
The women's side head coach Mbazumutima Charles, assisted by Charles Mushumba Charles, named a 24-man team with four professional players namely; Mahoro Laetitia, Williams Angelica Monique (USA), Henderson Tiena Monay, (Angola) and Mugeni Sabine, (France).
The rest of the players in both teams have been drawn from local clubs, namely; APR, CSK, Espoir, KCB, UNR, St. Aloys Rwamagana, Ubumwe, St. Joseph Kabgayi and Karubanda respectively. Both teams are set to start Amahoro indoor stadium on boxing day.
The event, earlier scheduled from December 15 to 22, was rescheduled to next year by the world governing body, FIBA. However, Tanzania basketball federation is set to announce the exact date for the competition.
Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF), Assistant Secretary General, Michael Maluwe, said recently that "the event will be either held early or late January but we will make the date public in advance".
He said despite the re-schedule they are proceeding with preparation of the event, with 12 countries having confirmed participation.
The participating countries which confirmed for the event include Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan and hosts Tanzania.
Provisional Squads:
Men: Barame Aboubakar (CSK), Manzi Nestor (APR), Kubwimana Ali (KBC), Uwizeyimana Placide (Espoir), Karekezi Pascal (Espoir), Mugabe Arstide (Espoir), Kamuntu Placide(CSK), Hakizimana Lionel (APR), Uwimana Sankara (KCB), Rafiki Mohamed (APR), Habineza Jean Louis (Espoir), Munyandamutsa N. Sunny (APR), Ruzima Guillaume (CSK), Murihira Teotime (APR), Muhizi Olivier (Espoir), Wazayire Christophe (Espoir), Muhire Fiston (KCB), Kabange Kami (Espoir), Shyaka Olivier (KCB), Kaje Elie (Espoir), Rugamba Dan (Seattle Community College), Hamza Ruhezamihigo (Concordia), Gasana Kenneth Herbert (Ass Charab Al Hoaciema), Isom Cedric (Primiero do Agosto), Brannon Darrius (Corr. Victoria) and Bradley Cameron Curtis (Mississipi Gulf Coast College).
Women: Kabarere Jovithe (APR), Yamfashije Jeanne (UNR), Micomyiza Rosine (St Aloys Rwamagana), Mukandayisenga Scolastique (Ubumwe), Kanyamibwa Claire (CSK), Nzaramba Cecile (St Joseph Kabgayi), Uwizera Vanessa (APR), Kamana Aisha (APR), Imanishimwe Genevieve (St Joseph Kabgayi), Umutoni Gisele (St Joseph Kabgayi), Munyaneza Joselyne (APR), Urwibutso Nicole (Karubanda), Kamanyana Ange (Ubumwe), Ikirezi Yvone (Ubumwe), Umugwaneza Charlotte (APR), Niyonsaba Delice (St joseph Kabgayi), Nyirahumure Immaculee (UNR), Uwase Denyse (APR), Muhongerwa Alice (Ubumwe), Ushizimpundu Clementine (Ubumwe), Mahoro Laetitia, Williams Angelica Monique (USA), Henderson Tiena Monay, (Angola) and Mugeni Sabine (France).

23 December 2012

KENYA : Basketball skill development clinic kicks off in Nairobi

Michezoafrika file picture
Michezoafrika file picture

Updated on 22/12/12 | By AMOS ABUGA

The third edition of the national Junior Basketball Skills Development Programme kicked off on Friday at Railway Club in Nairobi where the children were taken through basketball fundamentals which rotate around ball control, formation, passes, runs, three pointers, dribbling and shooting
The programme is being conducted daily at the Nairobi Railway Club and seeks to harness and develop talent amongst children aged between 17, 15, 12. The training will end on December 30, 2012.
Among the national basketball talent centers taking part in the high profile event managed by the women’s national team head coach Ronny Owino are Eastleigh, Shauri Moyo, Kayole and Langata.
“We are encouraged with the turnout where over 80 players attending the training; each centre has produced 20 children. They are inspired and are eager to learn basketball skills, “said Owino who will be heading with the national team to Tanzania next month for the Africa Cup on Nations qualifiers.
Owino recently returned from Abuja, Nigeria where he attended a similar coaching and training clinic and is eager to implement what he learnt.
He said two girls will be invited from the clinic to further develop their skills with the national team from January 3, 2013 when Kenya commence training for the Africa qualifiers.
Joseph Kirima who is head of Kenya Sports Institute said the main aim of the clinic is to nurture the children’s talent and prepare them to be feeders for the Kenya Basketball Federations clubs in the near future.
“Also the children stand great chance of earning basketball scholarships once they have attended this seminar,” said Kirima who explained the government through the Sports Department in the Sports Ministry has funded the clinic to a tune of Sh500, 000.

NIGERIA : Senator Mark Basketball Tourney to Produce League Team

Senator David Mark's Basketball championship will produce a team that will compete in the 2012/2013 DSTV league season, organisers have said.
Speaking with Trustsports on Thursday, the initiator of the competition tagged 'Mark D Ball', Hon. Igoche Mark said it was part of the re- branding strategies they were introducing.
"'Mark D Ball' is set to produce a league team to compete in the Nigerian DSTV league for 2012/2013 season."
He added that the team will be unveiled in this year's edition of the competition by the Senate President, David Mark.
"'Mark D Ball' is set to make history, to bring a major transformation in Nigerian basketball and beyond, to impact positively on youths and set Nigeria on a better platform to compete in forthcoming international sport events."
The championship
The 11th edition of the annual tournament is scheduled to begin in Otukpo, Benue State on 26th of December with the closing ceremony slated for 30th of the same month, 2012.
The championship is opened to Males & Females as well as Kids and adults, Hon. Mark said.
"One of the highlights of the tournament is the children's camp that run along side the game."
He said the children between 8-16 years will be taught the basics of the game with the team "catch them young".
"The primary goal of this tournament is to bring basketball of international standard to the grassroots, teaching children the game of basketball at an early stage and giving them the chance to pick a career in the game."
Winners will go home with trophies, medals, prize money and other attractive rewards, according to the organisers.

UGANDA : 2012 was an average year for local basketball

2012 was an average year for local basketball
By Charles MutebiFUBA’s 2012 closing ceremony proved the local basketball governing body does not either understand or agree with the notion that all is well that ends well.

Given the choice to bring the campaign to a glamorous end, as has been the case since 2008 with the season-crowning FUBA Awards Dinner, the top officials at the basketball body instead decided to take the money they raised through the season, and particularly the playoffs, to clear debts.
As FUBA vice president media and publicity Ali Balunywa put it: “We had a choice to either take sh30m and pay our debts so that we enter next season with clear books or spend it all on a plate of food.”
Obviously, the heads at FUBA don’t really appreciate how important the awards dinner has become to the players, just how much they look forward to it. A Plate of food? You’ve gotta be kidding! FUBA have to pay their debts, which somehow never seem to run out, but to degrade the awards just to justify the decision to scrap them is reckless.
FUBA president Ambrose Tashobya may come to regret this decision if it turns out to be the beginning of the end for a tradition that was going from strength to strength.

Hits and misses

FUBA’s management record under Tashobya remains a mix of more hits than misses but as the decision with the awards shows, the misses have been quite embarrassing. This season, the quality of facilities, refereeing, enforcement of disciplinary standards all continued to leave something to be desired.
It’s incredible that local league basketball still doesn’t have two perfectly equal hoops at any of its courts. It is scandalous. The new pair of Lugogo-bound hoops that were supposed to arrive in September are, depending on who is telling the story, still stuck somewhere in Europe, Kenya or Nakawa.
FUBA’s financial issues are understandable but some problems are just out-dated now.

Leopards claw back
Not that the Kyambogo Warriors, KCCA Leopards, City Oilers, Charging Rhinos, Ssaku and UMU Flames will remember 2012 for FUBA’s administrative failures.

The Warriors overcame the pain of losing the last two men’s top division finals series to win the national championship after defeating the Falcons 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.
They played the better basketball in the finals, sharing the ball more to turn a 2-1 series deficit into their second championship. Norman Blick deservedly won the Finals MVP award after topping the scorers’ charts in the series.
KCCA’s triumph was even more impressive. Trailing 2-0 to the UCU Lady Canons at the beginning of the women’s finals series, the Leopards rallied behind the determination of Martha Soigi and genius of Flavia Oketcho to win the series 4-3, to bag their third title.
The death of Purity Odhiambo’s mum ahead of Game 5 cost the Lady Canons their best player but KCCA are deserving champions having been good value throughout the series.
Oketcho won the women’s Finals MVP award although Soigi would have been just as deserving. Judith Nansobya and Geoffrey Soro both surprisingly won the women’s and men’s top division regular-season MVP awards respectively.

Beware of City Oil in top flight
Money-bags Oilers and Rhinos gained promotion to the men’s first division, replacing demoted Rez Life and Giant Stormers. Everyone expects the Oilers to become a huge factor in local basketball in the next few seasons given the amount of money at their disposal and the club which was founded in 2011 are targeting the 2014 national championship.
Ssaku and UMU Flames qualified to the second division, replacing relegated MBC Rocks and Kings.
D’Mark Power and KCCA finished third in the men’s and women’s FIBA Africa Zone five club championships, held in Kampala in August, another reminder that we still have work to do to become the region’s best.

UGANDA : Newly promoted City Oilers want to lift title in two years

The City Oilers team that secured promotion to the top division. Squatting in the middle is point guard Mande Juruni, also coach of Warriors.
The City Oilers team that secured promotion to the top division. Squatting in the middle is point guard Mande Juruni, also coach of Warriors. courtesy photo
By Mark Namanya
Mark NamanyaFor City Oilers coach Mohammed Ghedi, the elation of reaching the promised land is over. Occupying his thoughts is not what has been achieved. Rather, it is what can be achieved.
Make no mistake, advancement to division one was a remarkable feat, particularly when you consider that their 2012 roster was dominated by part-timers. But for Ghedi, there is no time to dwell on the past. It is the future. He wants the team to eventually become a seasoned Fuba league basketball side. It is his dream.
“We (City Oilers) want to make basketball competitive,” Ghedi told Daily Monitor this week. “Currently, we have Warriors, Falcons, Power, UCU and KIU as the teams that stand out in the eyes of most basketball fans. “We have a dream of joining that league. We want the division to be competitive, exciting and more colourful. We don’t want to just prioritise winning as City Oilers.”
Ghedi’s view is shared by many. Basketball is unique. It is a sport where fans more often than not front the interests of the game before those of their clubs. That said, City Oilers possess a desire to compete. They want to finish in the top 6 in their first season in the top division. It is a modest target; a realistic ambition which, the club’s management believes, keeps them in line with their aim of becoming champions in 2014.
“Many players have approached us,” says Ghedi. “But we want our growth to be something close to organic. We have identified the players we need and will continue to look around to land individuals who will make the roster to match our first season in the league.”
Whole new team
The City Oilers of 2012 will be a whole world apart from the 2013 team in terms of composition of the playing staff. Some of the players who earned promotion, like Mande Juruni, will not play for them any longer. Nziza Rurangirwa, Henry Baguma and Ambrose Tashobya are all busy with their employment and won’t cope with the demands of the top division.
Either way, that break-up, voluntary or not, was always bound to be neccesitated. There is a higher voltage of physicality and competitiveness at the top most level that naturally requires a more committed training regime as well as fitness and conditioning levels.
Even Ghedi, a businessman, has expressed reservations over whether he will be the man to handle the club in 2013. “It is a decision that will be taken by management but for now, it will not be easy for me to coach the team full time.” He is, however, confident the team’s progress will continue regardless of who is in charge.
The team will be financed by City Oil and one of the directors, Hassan Ahmed Hussein, has been an ever-present at their games. “We want to be competitive as well as respect the league,” he explained. “We are going to go for young players and groom our own people to make it a fair product for all fans of the sport.”
Should City Oilers plans come to fruition, basketball will have taken a huge leap as a brand.

22 December 2012

UGANDA : Vianney Nsimbe: Norman Blick is the greatest

WORTHY WINNER: Norman Blick (L) is congragulated by Fuba president Ambrose Tashobya after scooping the Playoff MVP award
At the start of the basketball semifinal playoffs, I predicted that the winner of the UCU Canons/Kyambogo Warriors fixture would prevail over any team that emerged from the Falcons/KIU Titans clash.

But at the moment, I would like to congratulate Kyambogo Warriors for that 4-2 series win. You fought a good fight, something that you showed right from the 3-2 gruelling win over UCU Canons in the semi-final. Now, the stage shifts to who will be voted the Most Valuable Player of the season.
While this is always a contentious issue, I have chosen to ignore it because often, it doesn’t add up. For example, the 2010 MVP was Norman Blick, yet general consensus believed that it was Isaac Afidra’s gong. The choice from the Fuba technical committee was embarrassing.
In fact, not only did it water-down the awards ceremony held at Imperial Royale hotel, but it left almost the entire Dmark Power team where both Afidra and Blick played at the time in utter shock and disappointment. To make matters worse, Blick wasn’t present to pick the award because, according to his teammates, he didn’t think he would be considered for the MVP award.
He, among all people, also believed it was Afidra’s award, perhaps the reason even after the award was delivered to his home, he kept a low profile. However, one thing that has defined the person of Blick has been humility and the winning mentality. And his shortcomings notwithstanding, Blick is the best basketball player that I have seen in this country.
The fact that last Sunday he was part of the winning Warriors team that brought his haul of league championships to five titles only emphasizes the legacy he has built. Of course one could argue that he doesn’t hold this record alone. True, his brother Donald Blick, with whom he has played at different clubs, and the Malinga brothers Henry and Eric, whose title winning streak dates back from 2002 with the indomitable Falcons, have a record to match.
But these don’t exhibit the class and grace with which Norman has played the game. Not one position on the basketball court failed him. He can handle the ball as a point-guard, shoot on the three point-line and also dribble with exceptional panache. Even within the paint, his versatility showed when called on to play as a big-man.
That said, Norman has often been teased by friends for his love for the bottle. But one thing about him is his great personality and love for others. A real good human being that has been a journalist’s ideal, the ladies’ man and above all, the fans craving from Sky-Jammers (2001), Nkumba Marines (2005 and 2006), Dmark Power (2010) and Kyambogo Warriors (2012).
If it weren’t for Norman Blick, Nkumba Marines wouldn’t have been an issue in Ugandan basketball. But because of his undying endeavour, the team rode on his talent and outwitted much stronger teams like Falcons, Charging Rhinos and Power that had the likes of Wilbrod Okecho, Moses Wasswa, Paul Ndamagye and Sam Obol.
Norman Blick has made a tremendous contribution wherever he has played and it’s not by accident that when push came to shove last Sunday, he grabbed the bull by the horns, took matters into his hands and led Warriors to the finish line with that decisive late three-point shot.

NIGERIA : We Are the Best On the Continent - Diogu

D'Tigers player Ike Diogu is hungry for continental action and has stated that Nigeria remains the best team on the continent as it chases the elusive African Nations Cup in Cote d'Ivoire next year.
First he helped put Nigeria back on the basketball world map, especially after she secured one of the three places up for grabs for the London Olympics thanks to a convincing performance at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Caracas, Venezuela.
Then he kept his form and remained Nigeria´s leading scorer and rebounder at the London Games, even though the showing in the British capital was somewhat disappointing.
After the Olympics, Diogu was given an opportunity to resume his NBA career. But the Phoenix Suns released him a few days before the season started a frustrating decision for a player with seven years of NBA experience.
But he still feels he has many years left to play at the highest level and signed for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China's CBA. Diogu is 29, and his high self-esteem makes him believe that sooner or later he will be back in the NBA. At the national team front, whether Nigeria is the best African team remains debatable amongst players and coaches. But Diogu - who has only faced one African team, Tunisia, the continental champions - has no doubts.
With former international Ime Udoka - currently an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs - tipped to take the helm of D´Tigers, Diogu feels next year's Afrobasket will see Nigeria win their first-ever African title. Nigeria has struggled to put its best players together after a major tournament.
Following an interesting 2006 FIBA World Championship showing, Nigeria kept only Chamberlain Oguchi, Tunji Awojobi and Aloysius Anagonye, to the following 2007 Afrobasket. For Diogu, things are different now.
Diogu seems to have become a leader that Nigeria needed as he made big shots, encouraged his team and danced when it mattered. During the memorable 80-79 win over Greece, Diogu showed it clearly. Coach Ayodele Bakare called a time-out with 3.5 seconds remaining as they trailed 79-78.
While the quartet of Tony Skinn, Ade Dagunduro, Derrick Obasohan and Alade Aminu sat around coach Bakare for the last instructions, Diogu remained standing, like a commander instructing his comrades.
Then the quartet and Diogu returned to court to see Dagunduro converting two free-throws that gave Nigeria a one-point lead, before Vassilis Spanoulis missed a three-pointer for a Nigerian celebration, which involved Diogu's dance.
On Nigeria's past, recent and future commitments, Diogu stated with respect to the Olympic legacy that "Our goal has been to get Nigeria basketball where it belongs and the Olympic Games were just a tiny step in that direction. We will become a dominant force in basketball. That is what the tournament [Olympics] meant to us - the beginning of something special. I think our mindset was different in Caracas than in London. We had the talent to win a medal we just didn't play our best basketball like we did in Venezuela. We were on a mission in Caracas and we refused to be denied."
On the other hand, in respect to the USA versus Nigeria, in his words, he stated that "It was embarrassing that we played that way. In no way, shape or form is the US's 80-points better than us.
"But we played passive. There wasn't anything positive to take away, except next time we play the USA, it will be a way different ball game, that's for sure. We take our hats off they capitalized on our mistakes."
Concerning the continent, he revealed that "I believe we are the best team in Africa. There is no arguing that no African team other than Nigeria could have faced all those teams (at OQT) and won. For all of us it was a dream comes true, to be the first Nigerians to do it. All of us wanted to play in the 2011 Afrobasket. I remember Ime Udoka was telling me, and I was all set to play then I had to work out with my team at the time because I was trying to re-sign with the LA Clippers.
"So I spent all summer under their watchful eye. Same with (Al Farouq) Aminu, he wanted to play as well but the bottom line is we knew it was time to come together and play. No offense, but I was tired of always seeing Angola in the Olympics. I am planning to play for the (Nigeria) federation until I retire from basketball."
The 2013 Afrobasket is going to be an intriguing challenge for American-born Diogu who has never competed in Africa.

UGANDA : Oketcho, Blick still stand out

The conclusion of the Fuba League season this week delivered many first titles for several players within Warriors and KCCA Leopards.
Warriors’ guards Ivan Enabu and Cyrus Kiviri and centre Michael Kariuki got their first rings. It has taken Enabu and Kariuki almost a decade to get this feeling. For Kiviri, this was only his first season in a side that can contend for the championship having joined from Ndejje University Angels this year.
“I am speechless. I thank God so much. I am very happy,” Enabu said. Similarly, forward Josephine Namayega and centre Martha Soigi also won for the first time as KCCA edged UCU Lady Canons 57-52 for a 4-3 series victory in the women’s final.
To Warriors’ Norman Blick and Flavia Oketcho (KCCA), who were named Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the respective division, the feeling has become routine.
The 4-2 series win over Falcons to which Blick contributed 97 points, the highest tally, is his fifth title having won with Sky Jammers (2001), Nkumba Marines (2005 and 2006) and DMark Power (2010). He was just helping an old friend. “I came here to help Ivan (Enabu) win,” Blick has said on several occasions this season. This was also his third postseason MVP crown.
Point guard Oketcho, part of the pioneer UCU team that won the 2008 title, is also on five ‘rings’ and counting. As a youngster, she also won three with Lady Bucks and then another at KCCA in 2009.

20 December 2012

KENYA : Lugasi, Mwangi excited by team call up

File picture of KPA
File picture of KPA

Updated on 20/12/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

The duo of KPA’s shooting guard Alex Lugasi and Co-op Bank’s power forward James Mwangi have been included in the Kenya National Basketball squad named by the Kenya Basketball Federation.
The team is expected to report to camp on 5th of January in preparation for the Zone 5 African Cup of Nation’s qualifies that will be held in Tanzania. The Kenyan team will be coached by Francis Ngunjiri and Peter Kiganya.
The two had had an impressive season with Lugasi joining the Mombasa based side at the 2nd leg of the 2012 from Masinde Muliro University while Mwangi had joined the Bankers at the start of the league from Div One side Parkland Baptist and the call up came as no surprise.
Speaking to michezoafrika.com, Lugasi was happy with the call up stating that it is a huge achievement for him and his career , “I was once called up to play for the U-18 but I did not manage to play and now I have been awarded another chance and I am grateful. The only thing remaining is to work hard.”
Lugasi adds that, “It is a dream of everyone to play for the national team and I am glad I have been handed that opportunity.”
Mwangi on the other hand says, “I have just seen in the media that I am on the list but I have not been contacted and for now I am waiting for confirmation but surely it is a good opportunity for me .”
Point Guards- Titus Musembi (Co-op Bank), Joseph Khaemba, Griffin Ligale (Thunder)
Shooting Guards- Tobias Onyango (KCB), Allan Ouma (Co-op Bank), Samuel Odera (Strathmore), Alex Lugasi (KPA)
Small Forwards- Okwako Halwenge (Co-op Bank), James Omune (Ulinzi), Evans letting (USIU-A), Fred Osore (MMUST)
Power Forwards- Youni Wanambine (KCB), Kevin Gitonga (USIU-A), Martin Gitonga (KPA), James Mwangi (Co-op Bank),
Centers- Roy Kahure, Anthony Mbori (KCB), Joseph Ondinyo (Co-op Bank),
Coaches- Francis Ngunjiri, Peter Kiganya Team Manager- George Odhiambo.

Tunisia: National Basketball Championship - First Stage - Last Day Results

Tunis — US Monastir qualified for the playoff stage of Tunisia's National basketball Championship after defeating ES Goulette at a first stage last-day game played on Wednesday, thus becoming the 8 team to qualify for this phase.
Club Africain, ES Sahel, CA Bizertin, US Monastir qualified for the final stage of the playoff from Group A while ES Rades, Stade Nabeulien, JS Kairouan and JS Manazeh qualified from Group B.
Here are the results the 1st stage last-day games played Wednesday afternoon.
Group A:
C. Africain - AS Hammamet 88-42
CS Hammam-Lif - ES Sahel 58-86
US Monastir - ES Goulette 72-48
Exempted: CA Bizertin
Group B:
SS Kasserine - JS Manazeh 77-56
ES Rades - Stade Nabeulien 72-66
Ezzahra Sports - CS Cheminots 60-63
Exempted: JS Kairouan

NIGERIA : NBBF Holds Forum for Youth Development Today

In keeping faith with its developmental and catch them young initiative, the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) will today at the National Institute For Sports, Package 'B' of the Abuja National Stadium hold a one day national open forum on youth development with the theme 'evolving a sustainable nation development programme'.
The event which will be declared open by the minister of sports and chairman National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Abdullahi Bolaji will give past players, administrators and experts alike opportunity to make their contributions on the way forward for Nigeria's basketball. Former NBBF presidents like U.K Umar, president Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Sani Ndanusa and Kogi State chief judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah who is a former basketball player and patron Kogi State basketball association are expected to deliver key note addresses on the way forward at the forum.
NBBF president, Tijani Umar will also present the overview of the national youth programme in the country, while a veteran youth basketball coach Emmanuel Odah is expected share his experience on the challenges of raising appropriate age-group national team-the lesson from the past. Michael Akuboh of ABU Zaria will present paper on the basketball without borders in Africa titled 'Any lesson for youth development in Nigeria?'
Other resource persons that will present various papers at the occasion include Dr Abubakar Mu'azu, director National Sports Medicine Centre, Abuja. He will present paper on the medical imperatives of youth development. While Sani Ahmed, Kano Pillars basketball coach will deliver speech on towards a national youth programme and coaching method.

Namibia: Egypt Eases Past Zambia in Fasu Basketball Match

The Egyptian Basketball Male Team on Tuesday made light work of the Zambian team at the ongoing sixth edition of the Federation of Africa Sports Universities being held in Windhoek.
Clearly the higlight of the day, the game between Egypt and Zambia attracted a huge crowd which came to witness the two teams battle it out on the courts for the second time in three days. The two teams had met on Sunday in the first match in which Egypt also came out tops.
In the second match on Tuesday, Egypt survived an early scare after the Zambians led 21-19 in the first quarter of the game, but the Egyptians eventually came out 85-70 victors.
Also on the same day at the UNAM Gym Hall, the Namibian Woman's Basketball Team did the country proud by walloping the Botswana Women's Basketball Team 80-63.
The Namibian team stamped its authority from the beginning of the game, seemingly getting stronger and stronger as the seconds ticked.
Eleven countries are taking part in this year's Federation of Africa Sports Universities Games which where originally scheduled to be hosted by Senegal.
The event brings together hundreds of University students from across Africa to participate in different sports codes namely: Volleyball, Basketball, Football, Netball, Table Tennis, Chess, Karate and Athletics.
The games started 15 December and will run until Saturday 22 December.

19 December 2012

UGANDA : Basketball Calendar Drawing to a Close

The 2012 local basketball calendar draws to a close this evening at Lugogo Arena, with a winner-takes-all Game 7 between UCU Lady Canons and KCCA Leopards, writes Elly Kyeyune.
Kyambogo Warriors won the men's title last Sunday after defeating Blue Cube Falcons 4-2 in the best-of-seven series last Sunday and now attention turns to the ladies category. Lady Canons and Leopards are tied on 3-3. The Lady Canons start as favourites to win a fourth straight title but Leopards' resilience could land them a first title since 2009.
It was never in doubt that Canons would ease into the Playoffs Finals and when they took a 2-0 series lead, it seemed as though there was no way back for Leopards. However, overconfidence bred complacency and allowed Leopards back into the series to the extent of taking a shock 3-2 lead.
That's when Boniface Okello's charges woke up to win Game 6 in emphatic fashion 69-48 on Sunday to take the series into a do-or-die battle. It now boils down to Leopards' experience against Lady Canons' agility. In Flavia Okecho and Martha Soigi, Leopards possess firepower that will punish every mistake from the Lady Canons but Leopards' lack of all-round team effort could cost them dearly at the tail end of the match. Meanwhile, the Lady Canons have no such worries apart from nervousness. If they find their rythm and lead from the onset, it's hard to see Leopards catching up.
No room for error
Okello insists Canons are destined for success: "All players are settled and there is no thought of losing," he says. "All we are thinking about is walking away with the trophy."
To achieve the feat, Lady Canons will most likely be without their most influential player Purity Odhiambo, who has missed the last two matches grieving after the death of her mother.
"We miss Purity but we have learnt to play without her," adds Okello, who plans to stay on as coach even if Leopards take the title.
Close call in race for MVP
Tonight's events will be crowned with an awards ceremony for the season's outstanding players but it's hard to single out the Most Valuable Player in both the men and ladies categories. It's also quite confusing given that local basketball body gives out two MVP awards: one for regular season and the other for the playoffs.
Ordinarily, the regular season honour is supposed to count more but players and fans alike recognize the Playoffs MVP award. It's also become a norm for Fuba to give the award to a player from a championship-winning team. Based on this, Warriors' trio of Norman Blick, Ivan Enabu and Cyrus Kiviri are frontrunners but they have not been consistent. That's why Falcons pair of Phillip Ameny and in particular Steven Omony shouldn't be counted out. All this makes for an unpredictable night.

Namibia: Nation Loses All Women?s Basketball Matches At Z6

The Namibian women's basketball team lost all its matches and ended last out of four countries in the 2012 Zone VI Games, in Lusaka, Zambia on Sunday.
The countries that participated in the women's basketball competition were Namibia, South Africa, hosts Zambia and Angola. In their last game on Friday against Angola, Namibia lost 12-133.
Angola won all its matches during the women's basketball competition, and easily finished as winners of the competition. Angola beat Zambia 79-17 in the final match on Saturday, while the silver medal went to South Africa and Zambia finished in 3rd place to collect the bronze medal.

UGANDA : One final throw of dice for KCCA, UCU Lady Canons

UCU’s point guard Angela Namirimu evades a block from KCCA’s Hilda Naigaga (R) in one of the recent Fuba playoff finals matches.
UCU’s point guard Angela Namirimu evades a block from KCCA’s Hilda Naigaga (R) in one of the recent Fuba playoff finals matches. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA
It was almost impossible to predict that the final game of the Fuba League season would be the women’s final – match number 619 – when this term started back in April.
Precedents had been set by UCU Lady Canons that the division is a near one-team show. The university side have won the last two titles with 4-0 series margins, beating KCCA Leopards on both occasions.
They have been made to dig deeper by KCCA this time.
The two finalists are tied at 3-up in the best-of-seven series and today’s Game Seven at the Lugogo MTN Arena is needed to decide a champion.
And the KCCA coach Timothy Odeke should be pleased with how far they have come. “4-0? I don’t see that happening for either team,” Odeke vowed before the series started.
He has definitely been vindicated even as UCU took a 2-0 lead in this series. In fact, KCCA won three in a row for a 3-2 margin and could have clinched their first title since 2009 on Sunday. UCU’s 69-48 rout got us here. “We knew we had to win,” Maureen Amoding, the 2009 MVP, said. She made 11 points, five rebounds and six assists as UCU survived the elimination game.
Coach Boniface Okello, in his first season at UCU, has seen his side cope without Purity Odhiambo. The forward, also reigning MVP, lost her mother last Thursday, on the eve of Game Five. “She may or may not make it for Game Seven,” Okello said. “The setback of Purity affected the girls. She is a pillar of this team. Players are so close to her.”
The report card reads; one loss, 53-54, albeit in overtime, and a victory in her absence. That has required Peace Proscovia and Lorraine Akinyi to combine for 44 points and 39 rebounds to keep afloat
Centre Martha Soigi has been outstanding in KCCA’s revenge mission. She has had 35 points and 20 rebounds in the past two games to remain the most dominant player of the finals.
“It’s mainly two players hurting us – Flavia (Oketcho) and Martha – so our focus is on them but even the others who score two points will not be spared,” Okello warned.

KENYA : Kenya national basketball teams named

Updated on 19/12/12 | By DENNIS MACHIO

36 players have been called up to the national basketball team for the men and women teams respectively. The players are expected to commence training on January 5th in preparation for the forthcoming Zone 5 African Cup of Nation’s qualifies that will be held in Tanzania next month.
Among the players called in include the 2012 KBF Most Valuable players in both the men and women categories Okwako Bob of Cooperative Bank and Hilda Indasi of USIU.
The men’s team will be coached by Francis Ngunjiri and Peter Kiganya with George Odhiambo serving as Team Manager.
The women’s team will be coached by Ronnie Owino, Philip Onyango and Nelly Oluoch will be Team Manager.
Full Squads:
Point Guards- Grace Wanjiku (Strathmore), Brenda Angeshi (KPA), Samba Mjomba (E. Wings), Ceilia Asito (Co-op Bank)
Shooting Guards- Denis Apondi (Strathmore), Hilda Indasi (USIU-A), Small Guards- Angela Okoth (E. Wings), Linda Alando, Debra Obunga (NYTA-Shimba), Emma Nyakweba (Co-op Bank)
Power Forwards- Eleanor Musundi (Co-op Bank), Yvonne Akinyi (KPA), Silalei Shani (E. Wings), Purity Ouma (UCU/Uganda), Susan Akinyi (Storms)
Centers- Taundencia Peter (NYTA-Shimba), Nancy Atieno (USIU-A), Vilma Achieng.
Coaches- Ronnie Owino, Philip Onyango Team Manager- Nelly Oluoch.
Point Guards- Titus Musembi (Co-op Bank), Joseph Khaemba, Griffin Ligale (Thunder)
Shooting Guards- Tobias Onyango (KCB), Allan Ouma (Co-op Bank), Samuel Odera (Strathmore), Alex Lugasi (KPA)
Small Forwards- Okwako Halwenge (Co-op Bank), James Omune (Ulinzi), Evans letting (USIU-A), Fred Osore (MMUST)
Power Forwards- Youni Wanambine (KCB), Kevin Gitonga (USIU-A), Martin Gitonga (KPA), James Mwangi (Co-op Bank),
Centers- Roy Kahure, Anthony Mbori (KCB), Joseph Ondinyo (Co-op Bank),
Coaches- Francis Ngunjiri, Peter Kiganya Team Manager- George Odhiambo.

18 December 2012

RWANDA : Espoir Still Have a Lot to Learn

In the build up to this year's FIBA Africa Club Championship in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo, Espoir's head coach Jean Bahufite sounded very upbeat: "winning the tournament is too much to ask but we should have a good shot at a top six finish."
As it turned out, a top-six finish was still very ambitious for a team who were only making their debut in Africa's most coveted basketball club tournament.
Even after reinforcing the squad with two experienced players in Kami Kabange and Bienvenue Ngandu, Espoir, who have dominated local basketball this season, found the going tough as they lost all their matches in group A; the weaker of the two groups considering that group B had seven-time champions D'Agosto, defending champions Etoile Sportive du Sahel (ESS), 2006 champions Petro Atlético, Al Ahly, Nigeria's Kano Pillars and Mazembe of DRC.
Espoir came close to wins in the first two matches but their inability to kill off games proved costly as they lost to the hosts Mongomo (68-70) and Ivory Coast's ABC 48-58. Against Mongomo, Espoir won the first two quarters 20-17 and 19-13 but lost their way in the second half (14-23 and 15-17).
In game three, Espoir lost to Egypt's Ettehad 64-78 before losing their final two group matches against Gabon's Manga 47-63 and Recreativo Libolo of Angola 74-92.
Meanwhile, Angola's Primeiro D'Agosto strengthened their African hegemony after beating arch-rivals Petro de Luanda 80-69 in the final. It was Primeiro's eighth title and clearly showed the side's mental strength as they bounced back from last's year's final defeat against ESS.
For Petro, it was another case of 'so close yet so far' as the hunt for a second African title drags on. They marched into the final as slight favorites following their 86-80 win over their arch-rivals in the group stage but that counted for nothing as veteran Miguel Lutonda led from the front. Even after revamping the squad with Serbian forward Milan Vucicevic, Jamaica captain Andre Omar Smith and two Tunisian internationals in Mohamed Hadidane and Marouen Lahmar, ESS could not repeat their heroics.
After losing two of their group matches, against Petro (69-70) and Primeiro (63-79), the Tunisian giants met Ettehad in the quarter-finals and lost 61-75.
In 2010, APR defied the odds as they finished third in the tournament.
Espoir's run in the tournament

Group A
Espoir 68-70 Mongomo (20-17, 19-13, 14-23, 15-17)
Espoir 48-58 ABC (19-24, 05-04, 15-14, 09-16)
Espoir 64-78 Ettehad (13-21, 23-14, 14-20, 14-22)
Espoir 47-63 Manga
Libolo 92-74 Espoir (27-13, 14-22, 24-15, 27-24)
(Espoir finished bottom in their group)
Classification Matches
(9-12th place) Espoir 61-110 Kano Pillars
(11-12th place) Espoir 79-81
Final ranking
Primeiro (ANG)
Petro (ANG)
Al Ahly (EGY)
Ettehad (EGY)
Libolo (ANG)
Manga (GAB)
Kano Pillars (NGR)
Mongomo (GEQ)
Mazembe (RDC)
Espoir (RWA)

UGANDA : Warriors champions

From one combination of players to the next, Warriors just never struck the right chords in their pursuit of Fuba League success.
They finally found it, mainly thanks to some ‘old’ brooms. Three years after their first championship, Ronnie Kasewu, the MVP then, returned to his old self.
His game-high 25 points, six rebounds and five assists gave Warriors an enthralling 88-81 win over Falcons and a second title with 4-2 series margin at the Lugogo MTN Arena on Sunday night.

“Guys were focused. We knew we could beat these guys and the moment we led, we knew they weren’t coming back,” Kasewu, a Warrior since 1998, said.

Falcons led this best-of-seven series 1-0 and 2-1. Warriors hit back to win three in a row and bury the pain of losing to DMark Power in the past two years and give Ivan Enabu his first title.The close-out victory had everything to do with Kasewu. It included 15 points in the fourth period. He was three for three beyond the arc while carrying the burden of four fouls.

Guard Jude Ochen, a reserve who moved from Falcons to Warriors 11 years ago, added 16 points and eight rebounds, going five for seven from downtown.
“We just had to avoid Game Seven,” Ochen said. Warriors lost two Game Sevens in the past two seasons. “It had to end today (Sunday). This is a great achievement for us.”

‘No game seven’
Their fans agreed. Leading 77-72 with three minutes and seven seconds to play, Warriors fans started chanting “no game seven.” Falcons fought back to tie it at 78-up.

Norman Blick’s three-pointer gave them an 81-78 lead. “The difference has been composure. Last year, we panicked when he had a lead,” coach Mandy Juruni said.
In Game Seven last year, Warriors held a 12-point advantage (89-77) with five minutes and 12 seconds to play only to go down 97-99 and lose the series 3-4.

Again, the best game of this series was still there to be won even with 21 seconds to play.

With Warriors leading 85-81, Falcons’ Abdullahi Ramadhan was called for a five-second violation, failing to inbound under pressure from Blick.
Kasewu and Ochen were part of the Warriors’ team that lost to Falcons 3-2 in the 2007 final but they too needed a new broom to sweep clean.

Blick, signed from Miracle Eagles this year, scored 13 points and eight rebounds. He finished the series with a tally of 97 points, 33 rebounds and 11 assists.

Now a five-time champion, Blick should be the front runner for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) accolade to be handed out today following Game Seven of the women’s final.

There was no denying Warriors. Not even six Falcons scoring double figures in the elimination game could halt them.

Centre Philip Ameny was quick to acknowledge Warriors. “They are champions, they deserve it. They wanted it more than us,” Ameny, 18 points and 12 rebounds, said.

17 December 2012

KENYA : Michezoafrika rewards Basketball excellence

Dennis Machio presenting award to Hilda Indasi
Dennis Machio presenting award to Hilda Indasi

Updated on 16/12/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

The 2012 Kenya Basketball League came to a close on Sunday evening with the finals and awarding ceremony creaming the season at the Nyayo stadium gymnasium. Co-operative Bank and Eagle Wings successfully defended their titles after defeating USIU Tigers and Flames respectively in the best of three finals.
KCB Lions finished in third place after edging out KPA in the men’s premier league while KPA Ladies came third with win over Co-op Bank’s Kingdom Queens in the play offs.
Nairobi Aviation were winners over Nakuru Club in the Division One finals also played on Sunday at Nyayo. The two will be promoted to the Premier League next season.
In the individual categories, USIU’s Hilda Indasi who has been in top form this season was named the Most Valuable player in the women’s Premier League category while Bobby Okwako of Co-op Bank won the men’s MVP.
Eagle Wing’s Evelyne Norah was named the best defensive player in the women’s premier and Kevin Kigotho of USIU the best defensive player for men.
Michezoafrika rewarded the top individual achievers with individual presents that included brand new playing shoes, basketball, water bottles, players’ body protective armor among other awards.
While presenting the awards, Michezoafrika’s Dennis Machio said, “Rewarding excellence supports better performance and gives players a sense of appreciation for their efforts throughout the hardworking season. Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to a more competitive season next year.”
Machio said this year’s finals were very thrilling both on and off the court where the number of fans supporting basketball has tremendously increased compared to the previous two seasons .
Ladies: MVP- Hilda Indasi (USIU-A)
MVP men- Bobby Okwako (Co-op Bank)
Best Coach- Carey Odhiambo (Co-op Bank)
Best Defensive- Kevin Kigotho (USIU-A)
Best Coach- George Mayienga (USIU-A)
Best Defensive- Everlyne Nora (Eagle Wings)
Division One:
MVP- Job Byron (Nairobi Aviation)
Best Coach- Gitau Waringo (KU Pirates)
Best Defensive- Gilbert Obiero (KU Pirates).

KENYA : Coop Bank retain basketball title

Coop Bank champions
Coop Bank champions

Updated on 16/12/12 | By MICHEZOAFRIKA TEAM

The Kenya Basketball finals climaxed on Sunday at the Nyayo stadium gymnasium with Cooperative Bank successfully retaining their title after fighting off stiff challenge from USIU Tigers in game 3 of the premier league play offs to win 77-63.
This was the first final’s appearance for USIU Tigers who enjoyed a fine season in 2013 having both their men and women’s team in the main Premier league finals. The ladies team Flames lost to Eagle Wings who also successfully defended their title with a 2-0 best of three play offs finals.
The two teams Coop and Tigers came to Sunday’s encounter having each won a match in the first two ties of the series on Wednesday and Saturday and the strength was equal in the first quarter with both teams settling on a 14-14 scoreline.
The second quarter was equally tight and despite showing some moments of individual brilliance including a powerful dunk by Evans Leting, Coop Bank won the second quarter to take a one point lead by half time with the scores being 30-29.
USIU once again exposed weak finishing power like has been the case in the last three matches where they drop their energy levels and concentration in the final two quarters. Coop Bank capitalized on the errors using experience to calmly pick massive points in the 3rd and 4th quarters winning 21-18 and 26-16 respectively to take home the cup for the second year in a row thus relegating Tigers to the waiting bay for their maiden title.
Eugene Genga scored high with 15 points for his team while Ouma managed 12.USIU’s Leting was the highest scorer of the day with 20 points while Kevin Macharia had 15.
KCB Lions finished in third place after defeating KPA 88-69 .KPA ladies finished 3rd in the women’s category defeating Co-op Bank’s Kingdom Queens 36-3.

UGANDA : Kasewu, Ochen star in Warriors title winning game, UCU force 7th date with KCCA

Warriors 88-81 Falcons (Warriors win series 4-2)
UCU Lady Canons 69-48 KCCA Leopards (series tied 3-3)
Kymbogo Warriors claimed the 2012 Airtel National Basketball League title following their 88-81 game 6 win over Blue Cube Falcons on Sunday night at Lugogo.
Ronnie Kasewu nailed game high 25 points, picked 6 rebounds and handed out 5 assists to lead Warriors their second national championship. Jude Ochen added 16 points and 8 rebounds and Norman Blick contributed 13 points as the university side ended a two year drought.
After losing the first quarter 15-21, Warriors responded with a 30 points second quarter powered by a balanced offensive play from Ivan Enabu (6 points, 5 steals), Ochen and Kasewu who scored 10 and 9 points respectively in the frame and taking Warriors into double digit lead in the process before Falcons chipped away to go into intermission trailing 38-45.
Falcons outscored Warriors 27-17 in the third quarter to take a slim 3 points lead in the final period. Center, Henry Malinga opened the scoring for Warriors in the final quarter from close range and Kasewu knocked down a 3-ball to take champions up 67-65 with 8:37. The teams nearly matched shot-for-shot and with 2:15, Edwin Katerega (10 points) hit an AND1 to tie the game at 78.
Warriors’ coach, Mandy Juruni called for a time-out and on return Norman hit a 3-pointer to take Warriors up 81-78 with 1:15 sending their fans into “no game 7” chants. Philip Ameny (18 points, 12 rebounds) responded with a pair of throws for Falcons but Brian Gumisiriza’s AND1 and a foul shot from Kasewu increased Warriors’ lead to 85-80 with 30 seconds. A throw and lay up from Sirus Kiviri (10 points) wrapped up the scoring.
Peter Elungat scored 14 points for Falcons, Geofrey Omondi and Steven Omony, who played three quarters with an injured thigh, contributed 13 points apiece and Julius Lutwama added 10.
Meanwhile, Peace Nakirijja’s 3-point play powered UCU Lady Canons to a 69-48 blow-out victory over KCCA Leopards to stretch the women’s finals to game 7. The guard, scored team high 12 points all from 3-point range and in the final quarter and picked 6 rebounds.
Peace Proscovia, Moreen Amoding and Lorraine Akiny contributed 11 points apiece to set up a decider. Flavia Oketcho and Martha Soigi paced leopards with 15 points each. Game 7 is Wednesday evening

UGANDA : Three-horse race for Fuba playoffs MVP

Warriors small forward Blick, a mulitple winner of championships and 2005 MVP, (left) is one of the contenders for the 2012 AWARD.
Warriors small forward Blick, a mulitple winner of championships and 2005 MVP, (left) is one of the contenders for the 2012 AWARD. photo by Ismail Kezaala.
By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

This Fuba league season didn’t offer so much in terms of individual play deserving of a single player to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP). The song of the regular season was oscillation. “To be honest with you, no player has been consistent,” DMark Power point guard Ben Komakech said.
Since his team was knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by UCU Canons, Komakech, a two-time MVP in 2008 and 2010 as Power won the championship, he has only managed to watch two games of the finals. He refused to pick an individual from either Warriors or Falcons, the two teams that reached the finals, for a playoffs MVP. However, some players have stood out despite their flaws. Warriors’ hopes of ending the unplatable record of losing two successive finals are being led by Norman Blick.
The forward who can also play on the back court has scored 84 points, 25 rebounds and nine assists to give Warriors a 3-2 lead. “No one plays thinking about an MVP title. It’s important not to be selfish,” Blick, an MVP from 2001 and 2005, reasoned. He joined them from Miracle Eagles this season.
Kenyan centre Philip Ameny and Stephen Omony have held Falcons in good stead. Ameny has 51 points and 45 rebounds in what has been a fluctuating postseason for him.
Omony, despite being late for the two Falcons’ victories in Games One and Three, has managed 68 points, 37 rebounds and 11 assists. “Everyone is doing their best to win,” Omony, who lost his head and verbally attacked umpired following the Game Five loss, said.
Komakech knows a thing or two about finishing the job if a player is to an MVP crown. “It’s going to be very hard to choose one. It normally comes down to who does the job in the decider,” Komakech noted.
Power’s Isaac Afidra, the reigning MVP, needed five double-doubles to be crowned MVP for the first time last season but has not watched the finals. “I only play basketball. I don’t watch that much,” he often says, rather arrogantly.
Players will naturally say they prioritise team glory over individual achievement. But deep down, they’ll privately want to win the MVP accolade.

16 December 2012

KENYA : Red Hot Flames’ Indasi tipped for MVP

Hilda Indasi during the finals
Hilda Indasi during the finals

Updated on 16/12/12 | By DENNIS MACHIO

USIU Flames’ lead player Hilda Indasi has been in blistering form this season guiding her team to a second place finish in the just concluded women’s basketball premier league.
USIU lost to defending champions Eagle Wings in two of the best of three finals matches played at the Nyayo stadium on Wednesday and Saturday. Despite the fall in the finals, the students gave a good account of themselves leading the table standings for the better part of the season.
But their push to glory this season will mostly be attributed to the courage and determination of former KPA player Hilda Luvandwa Indasi who has received accolades from all corner including Eagle Wings star Silalei Shani who says,” Hilda has had a brilliant season. We won the finals but surely USIU were awesome and Hilda was incredible. It will not be surprising at all if she is named the Most Valuable Player this season.”
On Wednesday during game one of the play offs finals, Hilda scored 22 points for her side that narrowly lost by three points (55-58) to the champions. She repeated the same outstanding performance on Saturday scoring 30 points though this was not enough to stop the flying Eagles who cancelled her last minute three point shot with quick final baskets from Silalei and Samba Mjomba to win the league.
Eagle Wings' Samba Mjomba won the coveted MVP last season.
The outstanding performers in this year’s league will be awarded after Sunday’s finals pitting USIU Men and defending champions Coop Bank. The two were forced to go to match three after a 1-1 draw in the first two matches.
14/20/12/12 14/10/15/16
15 pts Angela Okoth 22 pts Hilda Indasi
14 pts Silalei Shani 09 pts Nancy Atieno
26/14/20/19 08/21/23/25
31 pts Bosire Victor 26 pts Halwenge Okwako
19 pts Evans Letting 13 pts Joseph Khaemba
27/25/19/26 22/16/12/17
28 pts Job Byron 17 pts Joseph Okerio
10 pts Linda Mfuchi
17/11/16/18 22/16/12/17
30 pts Hilda Indasi 16 pts Angela Okoth
14 pts Samba Mjomba
12 pts Silalei Shani
20/09/10/33 10/13/18/19
20 pts Okwako Halwenge 19 pts Evans Letting
13 pts James Mwangi 10 pts Victor Bosire

UGANDA : KCCA outlast UCU in OT, Warriors leap ahead of Falcons

KCCA outlast UCU in OT, Warriors leap ahead of Falcons

KCCA Leopards 54-53 UCU Lady Canons, OT (Leopards lead series 3-2)
Falcons 57-62 Warriors (Warriors lead series 3-2)

All KCCA Leopards needed to win game 5 of the ANBL playoff finals was clutch play from their top players. It got exactly that as center, Martha Soigi scored 4 points and guards, Flavia Oketcho and Sarah Nassuna added a pair of free throws each to lead Leopards to a 54-53 edge out of Lady Canons in OverTime.

Leopards (3-2) are now one game away from clinching a title they last won in 2010. Soigi had game high 20 points that went along with 13 rebounds, Nassuna scored 10 and Oketcho added 8 in the important victory.

KCCA took the first two quarters 12-8 and 20-18 but were held to a playoff low of 3 points in the third quarter and tied at 11 in the fourth to push the game to OverTime. Lorraine Akiny (10 points, 15 rebounds) made a lay-up as normal time expired to force OverTime but missed a game winner at the OT horn as UCU slipped for a third straight. Lady canons (2-3) who were mourning Purity Adhiambo’s mother, felt the absence of the strong forward on both ends of the floor as Peace Proscovia (12 points, 17 rebounds) and Akiny were constantly bullied down the post. Moreen Amoding scored team high 14 points for lady canons.

Meanwhile, Warriors edged close to winning their second title with a 62-57 win over Falcons in game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Norman Blick scored team high 16 points to pace Warriors and Henry Malinga added a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Ivan Enabu added 9. Steven Omony netted game high 17 points in a losing effort and so were Peter Elungat’s 12 points and Geoffrey Omondi’s 10. Philip Ameny had an off day on line but managed 8 points and picked 12 rebounds

UGANDA : Warriors, KCCA one game away

Warriors’ talisman Blick (L) shoots over Omondi on Friday night.
Warriors’ talisman Blick (L) shoots over Omondi on Friday night. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA
W: KCCA vs. UCU (5.30pm)
(KCCA lead series 3-2)
M: Falcons vs. Warriors (7.30pm)
(Falcons lead series 3-2)
City Oilers vs. Rhino (3.30pm)
(Rhinos lead series 2-1)
Falcons and UCU Lady Canons lost their grip on the Fuba League best-of-seven playoff finals on Friday night.The former also lost their heads after Warriors beat them 62-57.
UCU know a big chance has been squandered as KCCA Leopards held on for a 54-53 overtime victory at the Lugogo MTN Arena. Warriors have turned a 0-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, winning the last two games. KCCA hold the same advantage having won three games in a row after losing the first two.
Though Falcons are now sour, Warriors won’t relent. They could clinch their second championship with victory in Game Six today at the same venue. An unseen side of legend Stephen Omony, who scored a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds, came to fore. After the buzzer, he verbally attacked the umpires and needed restraining.
Those who held him back felt worse. “Right from Game One, there have been errors. We have controlled our players but we are human,” Gad Eteu, the Falcons’ assistant, said.
The sour-grapping continued as guard Geoff Omondi played victim despite himself sending Cyrus Kiviri and Henry Malinga tumbling.
“The umpires are Warriors. We are being hacked and that is not called. Any small touch is being called.“It’s them and the federation. The calls are affecting us individually,” said Omondi, 10 points on the night.
He then launched his defence. “This is a final. I have to protect my D. In basketball, you have to play aggressive. This is not friendship.” After Falcons took a 20-12 lead at the end of the first, Warriors closed them out to take the next three quarters 17-10, 15-14 and 18-13 respectively.
Norman Blick, 16 points and five rebounds, shot a three for 55-51 lead with five minutes and 14 seconds to play, to give Warriors breathing space. Controversy came at 58-54 with 50 seconds to play. Omony drove to the hoop and attempted to dunk. He missed it amid several hands. Umpires gave it as a legitimate block.
“It’s just a game away. We need a keep focus,” Warriors’ skipper Ronnie Kasewu noted.
Malinga, a member of the Falcons’ team that beat Warriors 3-2 in the 2007 finals, had 12 points and 11 rebounds against his former team.
The earlier women’s game was even more thrilling. Martha Soigi scored 20 points and 13 rebounds.

15 December 2012

KENYA : Co-op Bank stops Tigers to push finals to game 3

USIU vs Coop Bank
USIU vs Coop Bank

Updated on 15/12/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

Kenya Basketball Premier League defending champions Co-op Bank recovered from Wednesday's game one falling to USIU Tigers to defeat the students 71-60 on Saturday at the Nyayo Gymnasium in game two and push the final playoffs to game three to be played on Sunday afternoon.
Co-op Bank started on a positive note overcoming their opponents 20-10 in the 1st quarter. The students recovered well in the second quarter to overturn the results winning 13-09. At half time the scores were separated by six points with Coop Bank enjoying the lead on 29-23.
But Tigers had a fine run in the third quarter slowly getting back to the match with an 18-10 win. However, the students showed faded power in the final quarter easily losing balls and remaining frail in their defense to allow a bankers recap of their form with a comfortable 32-19 win in the final quarter that won the match and pushed the finals to day three.
With the results tied at one all after two matches, the winner of the third match will walk away with the title trophy with Coop bank looking at retaining their title won last season while USIU students fancy a glorious maiden title after a fine season in both the men and women categories.
Earlier at the same venue, Eagle Wings retained their title after winning game 2 (67-62) of their encounter against the hard fighting and entertaining USIU Flames.

KENYA : Eagle Wings retain title after extinguishing Flames in game 2

Updated on 15/12/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO

Eagle Wings retained their KBF Premier League title after they beat USIU Flames 67-62 to win game 2 of the play offs on Saturday afternoon at the Nyayo Gymnasium. Eagle Wings had managed to beat the students 58-55 in game one on Wednesday and after the win today they take the title for a record third time.
Eagle Wings looked comfortable and took the 1st quarter 23-17 then went ahead to stamp their lead in the 2nd quarter winning 15-11 to put the half time scores at 38-28 in favor of the champions.
The students thought they would pull a cat out of the bag and force the game into game three as they pushed hard in the third quarter. Hilda Indasi was in industrious form for the students and her hard work in both halves of the field forced the quarter into a 16 all tie.
The fourth Quarter was more entertaining and nail biting for the defending champions as USIU threw all spanners into the workshop in a bid to push Wings to their wits end and cut down the scores. They succeeded into pushing Smatts Olumbo’s ladies to just within three points.
However, Silalei Shani and Samba Mjomba were on top form when they gave their team the winning last 4 points after each of them made two quick baskets in the last minute of the game and take the day. In the end Mjomba had 16 points followed by Shani and Angela Oketch followed with 14 points each.

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