NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The national men’s basketball team, the Kenya Morans, will take on Tanzania in their second match of the FIBA Afrobasket zonal pre-qualifiers at the Nyayo Gymnasium on Wednesday evening, looking to build on from their opening day win.
The Morans beat Eritrea 112-64 in the opening match at a fully pack gymnasium on Tuesday night and Cliff Owuor’s men will look to make it two out of two wins against the Tanzanians.
Owuor is expected to throw in his strongest team against an expectedly tough Tanzania, having toyed around with his starting five against Eritrea where the home side was in total dominance.
The team led 25-13 and 50-25 at the first and second quarters with Owuor putting in what was seen as many as a second-string team. It was not until the third quarter that the duo of captain Griffin Ligare and the indefatigable Eric Mutoro were introduced.
“We just wanted to give everyone a chance to play while also reserving our best players for the tougher games ahead,” Owuor said after the win over Eritrea.
One of the players who was a standout against Eritrea was the burly French-based Robert Nyakundi who showed an impressive all-round performance.
The team is however expected to pick a second win against Tanzania, having beat them when they last met at last year’s FIBA AfroCan qualifiers in Kampala.
The winner of the five-nation pre-qualifier will progress to the last phase of qualification, battling against giants Angola, Senegal and Mozambique for one of three available slots to the final tournament set for next year in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Morans are hoping to use the experience of reaching the final of last year’s FIBA Afrocan as a launching pad to qualify for the bigger showpiece, equivalent to the African Cup of Nations in football.