31 October 2013

KENYA : Player exodus hit Lions ahead of playoffs

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

    Comments: Post a Comment

    << Home

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?