NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The Kenya men’s basketball team Morans booked a place in the next round of the 2021 Fiba Afro-basketball pre-qualifiers after providing a spirited fight to down tough opponents South Sudan 74-68 in a tight contest played on Saturday at a fully packed Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium.
Kenya finished top of the round robin format after powering past Eritrea, Tanzania, Somalia, Burundi and now favourites South Sudan and will now join Senegal, Angola and Mozambique in Pool B of the qualifiers.
The top three from the last qualifiers will advance to the tournament finals to be played in 2021.
With the match being a decider, the fans turned up in large numbers and could not fit in the gymnasium, forcing the tournament organisers to lock the gates but they were overwhelmed by the fans.
This saw the match being delayed for over an hour as the organisers calmed the situation.
Morans, charged by the home fans, led the first quarter 5-19 but the South Sudanese rallied to go for the break leading 30-29.
Kenya would then stretch their lead to 38-32, before moving further ahead to 44-35. The South Sudanese side pulled their way back into the match with a late Pout three, but Kenya again moved into the fourth 52-46.
Griffin Ligare tallied 26 with 6 assist Robert Nyakundi posted 18 and Bush Wamukota hit 13 with 18 rebounds. Makuey Jambo 15 and Dol Bakl shot 12 for the losers.
Kenyan coach Cliff Owuor said. “We talked as a team to deny them the ball and control the boards. Stop their execution and that was it. We are happy to qualify for the next round”
Earlier in the day, Burundi beat Eritrea 101-54 while Tanzania lost 101-84 to Somalia.
Burundi, Eritrea, Tanzania and Somalia were the other teams in the five day competition.
Kenya will open their AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers campaign in the next window to be played from November 23 – December 1, 2020 at venues yet to be determiined.