20 April 2014

KENYA : Financial woes weigh down Mennonite teams

  • Mennonites in a past league game.(Photo:SNA File)
Mennonite men and women basketball clubs coach Soni Mugisha has decried financial challenges that have contributed to their poor show as the national classic league entered its third week.
The community clubs have had a poor start to the 2014 season, picking up from where they left in 2013. So far, both teams have played two matches apiece and lost all in big margins.
Mennonite is one of the oldest clubs in the country and suffered a big blow after being relegated at the close of last season.
However, an increase in the number of teams from twelve to sixteen gave the Eastleigh-based clubs a lifeline and are determined to rise to the occasion this season.
On Saturday, Mennonite ladies lost 16-76 to Strathmore Swords while their male counterparts were beaten 68-28 by Strathmore Blades in matches they never scored a double digit in all quarters.
“That is our biggest problem because its hard operating without finances. If we get a sponsor today, we are ready to even change the club’s name,” he told sportsnewsarena.com after Saturday matches.
There has been a consistent departure by key players dealing a big blow to their campaign every season.
“This team is like an academy. We mould players only for other teams to come and take them away just because of our financial situation.”
He has set a playoffs qualification target for both teams at the close of this season and remains optimistic that they will find their right footing soon.
 “It doesn't matter which position we will finish in the top eight but playing in the playoffs is our key target.”
The biggest problem for Mennonite has been lack of teamwork with some players’ contribution counting for nothing.
Against Swords, Mugisha fielded twelve players but only four could find the basket at least once for the entire forty minutes of play. Abigael Ogechi, who topsored with 8 points, had a basket and two free throws to account for the team’s 4-17 los in the second quarter.
Likewise, the males disappointed against Blades as only six out of twelve players could find a score as compared to their opponents who had a good distribution of scorers.
Nakuru hold off KU Pirates 
“We have players who can run and dribble but can't score. This is something I have to change if this team will experience a quick turnaround soonest possible,” Mugisha observed.
Blades enjoyed a 24-11 halftime lead with Henry Onono scoring a game high 27 points that were aided by seven three-point shots. Kevin Oduor top scored for Mennonite with 12 points.
Visiting Nakuru Club registered first win of the season beating Kenyatta University Pirates 66-51 at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium. Nakuru led 36-26 at the halftime break.
In the women premier, Co-operative Bank maintained their perfect start to the season beating Sprite Storms 53-40 for the second straight win.
Safe Spaces scored 53-42 against Kenyatta University Oryx. Peninah Nthenya top scored for Spaces with 16 points, scoring three three-point shots and five free throws.
Saturday Results: Mennonite 16 Strathmore Swords 76, Safe Spaces 53 KU Oryx 42, Mennonite 28 Strathmore Blades 68, Co-op Bank 53 Sprite Storms 40, KU Pirates 51 Nakuru Club 66, Parklands Baptist 55 JKUAT 52, Trailblazers 36 Dankid Academy 60, Umoja 57 Little Prince

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