16 March 2017

Kenya: Egypt Down Kenya in Fiba Championship Qualifiers

The national men's basketball team was on Wednesday left searching for their first win in the ongoing Fiba Afro Basket Zone Five qualifiers after they lost 89-47 to hosts Egypt at the Cairo Olympic Centre.

The defeat was Kenya's third in the competition having already lost to Rwanda and debutantes South Sudan in their first two Pool A matches.

It was always going to be a tough encounter for Carey Odhiambo's charges against the champions.

Kenya paid the price for defensive lapses despite a strong start in the opening quarter. Kenya will now play Somalia on Thursday in a position six and seven classification match.

Coach Odhiambo lamented the terrible start to the competition saying that it disrupted his plans.

"I think we lost to sides who had better preparations than us and that showed in how they played. Overall, it is a learning experience for us and we have a lot of lessons to take back home," Odhiambo told Nation Sport on phone from Cairo.

In this match, the teams were tied at 16 points apiece at the end of an entertaining first quarter. However, the hosts surged forward in the second quarter to outscore the Kenyans 24-14 for a 40-30 lead at halftime.

Egypt outscored Kenya 24-8 in the third quarter for a 64-38 lead in the match. They never relented in the fourth quarter extending their dominance as they scored 22 to Kenya's low tally of nine points. The final statistics spoke volumes about the gap in class between the two sides.

The North Africans had 26 assists and 42 rebounds to Kenya's 15 assists' and 31 rebounds. Kenya at the same time were guilty of conceding 21 turnovers to Egypt's 19. The Egyptian reserve players contributed a massive 49 points off the bench to Kenya's nine points.

Point guard Evans Letting was Kenya's best performer, sinking 23 points, seven rebounds and two steals while Francis Ogola had six points and five rebounds.

The Egyptians had four players who hit double digits. Hayman Khalifa (12) led Mustafa Meshaal (12), Karim El Dahshan (11) and Ahmed Mohammed (10) in destroying Kenya.

Egypt will play Burundi in Thursday's first semi-final with Uganda playing Rwanda. Kenyan women will play Uganda Thursday night as they seek the sole ticket to the Fiba Championship.

The top two men's team as well as the women's winner will qualify for the continental event.

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