14 March 2015

KENYA : Carol Ouma takes charge at Co-op Bank

  • Victor Odendo of Ulinzi shields the ball from Joseph Khaemba in a previous league match. The season throws off this weekend. (Photo by Shutterspeed)
Carol Ouma, a FIBA-accredited coach will be in charge at Co-operative Bank women's basketball team when the 2015 Kenya Basketball Federation season begins this weekend.
She replaces Robert Mugabe who led the team to a third-place finish last season. Ouma has a playing career spanning eleven years having made club basketball debut in 2004 with Railways Club before playing for Sprite Storms and Eastern Queens.
She has been a player at Co-op Bank for four years. It is not always easy taking up a coaching role but she is prepared for the tough transition from a player to coach. “It is okay because I know most of the players having played together for years. There will be no difficulties at all.”
Truphosa Mochachi from University of Nairobi Dynamites and Beryl Akoth from NYTA Shimba Hills are the only new players at the team. Her first major assignment will be leading the bankers this weekend away to Western Delight and newcomers Kisumu Lady Bucks.
The major change in the women premier league is late withdrawal of Safe Spaces featured in the playoffs last season. They have opted to play in the Nairobi Basketball Association league due to financial difficulties.
Last season, it was a big challenge for the club to honor their fixtures. “Our key donor for the team passed on last month and we are not financially able to support a premier league team with league fee and away matches,” team manager Peninah Nthenya confirmed.
Debutants Equity Bank who signed Hilda Indasi from United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) begin their campaign away against Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). The dockers lost one of their key player Lynette Atieno to Nigerian side First Bank.
Champions USIU-A will begin their title defense against military side Ulinzi.
Men's premier league newcomers Zetech University were not very active in the transfer market signing two players only. Keith Ondu and Ayuel Ayuel joined from Dankind Academy while Joshua Okumu left for Ulinzi Warriors.
Worried coach Munene
As the season begins, head coach Job Munene is a worried man. “We are in a higher league now but its like we are still in division one,” he told sportsnewsarena.com. “Remuneration for players needs to improve so that it becomes easy attracting players from other clubs which did not happen. It’s the reason why we did not sign the players we wanted for the new season.”
He is not happy the players are still enjoying the same allowances as they did last season when they played in Division One but expects things to be sorted out before playing their first game.
Zetech not in is action this weekend. “Of course players get demoralized when promises are made and never fulfilled. We just hope it will not affect our campaign but if things are tough there is the mid-season transfer window which we can utilize.”
Co-operative Bank, the former champions are ready to fight back and reclaim the title this season. They have signed six new players, three from the premier league and three from division one.
They are; Job Byron (Nairobi Aviation College), Evans Ochieng (Kenya Airports Authority), Denis Ongwae (Lions), Fidel Muga (Little Prince) as well as duo of Mawich Thruuma and Athiel Lwal from Dankind Academy were selected after a series of trials.
The bankers have lost Nick Anyang who rejoined Nakuru Club and Eric Olum who has retired. Another boost for Co-op Bank is the return to action of Titus Musembi and David Ogolla. They missed the second leg of last season serving suspension. Captain Brian Busu says other teams should expect a new Co-op Bank.
“We will have new things this season because we want to recapture the title,” he assured. “Last season, we lost two players to suspension while Khaemba Situma left for USIU-A mid-season which was not easy. They were our key players. With Musembi and Ogolla back plus the new signings, we are more than ready.”
Muya returns to Lions
Lions who play University of Nairobi Terrorists on Saturday expect to bring on board Lewis Muya who is returning to the country after completing his studies in USA. He previously played for the club.
Collins Ochieng and Marvin Odhiambo have joined from Nairobi Aviation College and Humphrey Mbande from Parklands Baptist.
Ulinzi, Last season’s losing finalist will be up against USIU-A on Sunday in their opening fixture. Apart from Okumu, they have signed three other players in Elvis Akoyi, Ronald Kipruto and John Washika all from KAA.
March 14: Baraka X-treme vs World Hope (Thika, 10am), MKU Thika vs Parklands Baptist (11:30), Eldonets vs Lakeside (UG, 10am), KPA Ladies vs Equity Bank (KPA, 2pm), KPA Men vs Equity Bank (4pm), Nakuru Club vs Umoja (MHS, 11am), EMYBA vs Trailblazers (Nyayo gymnasium, 9am), Blazers vs Don Bosco (10:30), Eagle Wings vs KU Oryx (12pm), Strathmore University vs Thunder (2pm), Lions vs Terror (4pm), Western Delight vs Co-op Bank (KPC, 10am); March 15: Kisumu Lady Bucks vs Co-op Bank (KSG, 11am), ANU vs Barclays Bank (9am, Nyayo gymnasium), Upper Hill vs IAT-Little Prince (10:30am), Dankind Academy vs 4-Christ (12pm), USIU Flames vs Ulinzi Blades (2pm), USIU Tigers vs Ulinzi Warriors.

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