NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – Kenya came short at the final of the FIBA Afrocan championship in Bamako, Mali, losing 82-61 to the Democratic Republic of Congo despite starting the game well and leading at half time.
The Congolese turned the tables on the Kenyan Morans in the second half of the game, taking advantage of their nerves and rushed shooting to punish the mistakes immediately.
Despite the loss, the Morans leave Mali heads up having qualified for a continental showpiece for the first time in 26 years and going all the way to the final, beating some of the continent’s best teams in the process.
Kenya’s duo of Tyler Okari and centre Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota were named in the tournament’s dream team, alongside the DR Congo duo of Maxi Shamba and Jordan Sakho as well as Angola’s Edson Ndoniema.
In the final, Okari who finished as the tournament’s highest scorer picked a game high 21 points, but it was not enough to hand Kenya victory in the final. Guard Eric Mutoro was Kenya’s second best scorer picking 15 points.
Shamba was Congo’s best player, picking 20 points and seven rebounds with teammates Evariste Shonganya picking 18, Rolly Fula Nganga 15 and Sakho 10.
The Morans picked 17 points from turnovers and 25 from the fast break. However the Congolese were more efficient in the paint registering 44 against Kenya’s 20 from the other end.
Kenya started well with Mutoro hitting back to back three-pointers, but Congo soon turned the tables to lead 29-18 at the end of the first quarter.
But Kenya bounced back in a massive way in the second quarter, improving in their shooting and picking up ebounds to ensure they led by a slim half basket, going 37-36 up.
But Congo came back stronger in the final two quarters and Kenya failed to nail any response, the Congolese leading 65-47 at the end of the third quarter before seeing off the job in the second quarter.