Kenya's Basketball Revival Continues With Big Victory

20 January 2020

Kenya's basketball revival continued at the weekend when the home team, for the first time as hosts, won the Fiba Afro basketball pre-qualifiers at the Nyayo National Stadium.

And they did it in style, outsmarting big-talking pre match favourites South Sudan whom they beat 74-68 for the single ticket to the next phase of the championships to be staged in Rwanda. Kenya will be up against bigwigs Angola, Senegal and Mozambique, among others.

Going into the explosive Saturday night game, both teams were unbeaten after four rounds of matches played on a round-robin format with Kenya beating Eritrea 112-64, Burundi 101-83, Somalia 102 -77 and Tanzania 95-59.

South Sudan, meanwhile, registered century marks in all their matches before the Kenya clash, beating Somalia 112-79, Eritrea 111-57, Burundi 100-59 and Tanzania 115-60 for a total of 438 points against Kenya's 410.

With the motivation from ex-NBA star Luol Deng and the hundreds of fans who filled the Nyayo National Stadium to the brim, clearly outnumbering the Kenyans, the battle was definitely going to be fought on a knife's edge.

It was, however, Kenya who executed their game plan well, totally locking out the Sudanese from their comfort zone.

Kenya's head coach Cliff Owuor played a one-on-one against South Sudan playmaker Teny Puot, around whom he rotated Eric Mutoro, Victor Bosire and Robert Nyakundi, frustrating his efforts throughout the game and restricting him to only 10 points.

This was a far cry from the over 30 points the guard made in each of the other matches.

The battle was, however, won in the paint where Tunisia-based Bush Wamukota, son of Webuye West Member of Parliament, Dan Wanyama, was on beast mode.

Apart from the rim roasting dunk on right on the face of seven-footer Deng Mayot, which sent the fans into a frenzy, Wamukota ensured no one picked both the offensive and defence rebounds pulling down 18 of them and five assists to conclude an excellent evening.

Griffin Ligare, with a game high 26 points, put up a man-of-the match performance while France-based Robert Nyakundi's acumen came in handy, the latter scoring 18 points and dishing out eight assists

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