NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 -National men’s basketball team head coach Cliff Owuor hopes Kenya can win the hosting rights for one of the two legs of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers which are scheduled for November this year and February 2021.
The group stage qualifiers are to be played in two venues in home and away basis. One of the four teams in the group will host the first round of qualifiers while another country will host the second round.
According to Owuor, Kenya wants to host the opening leg in November.
“The Kenya Basketball Federation is working on that. If we can get the necessary support from the government and sponsors, we can host the first leg in November,” Owuor said.
He added; “We really appreciate our fans for always coming out to support us and if we get the opportunity to host, it will be a big event and I know our fans will rally behind us in big numbers to help us pull through to the final tournament.”
Having won the six-team regional pre-qualifiers that were held at the Nyayo National Stadium in January, Kenya booked a slot to the final round of qualification and have been drawn in a tight pool that has African giants Senegal, Angola and Madagascar.
Senegal have played in the FIBA World Cup five times, Olympics three times and have had 28 appearances at the Afrobasket, winning the title five times, finishing second six times and third five times.
Angola have meanwhile been at the Afrobasket 20 times and have the most championship titles, winning 11 with the last one being in 2013.
Mozambique have been at the Championship 14 times but are yet to win any crown.
“We are in a pretty tough group and some people are referring to it as the group of death. All those teams have the experience of the championship and it will be tough. But for us, we have great momentum in our play and progress and I am sure if we get necessary support we will be able to compete with these teams well and qualify,” a confident Owuor stated.
“For us to be sure of qualifying, we need to win at least three games over the two legs,” he adds.
Three teams out of the four in each group will qualify for the final tournament in Kigali, Rwanda next year. Kenya has never played at the tournament for the past 27 years.
However, coach Owuor hopes they can pick a leaf from their performance at the FIBA Afrocan last year where they reached the final and use the same energy to vie for a place in the more prestigious Afrobasket tourney.