NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – Kenya Morans head coach Cliff Owuor is hoping for an improved performance on Thursday night as the national basketball team takes on 11-time Africa Champions Angola in their second FIBA Afrobasket qualification match in Kigali.
The Morans started their campaign on a wrong footing, going down 92-54 to giants Angola at the Kigali Arena on Wednesday.
“We were having lapses in the game and playing against an experienced side like Senegal, they capitalized on our mistakes. We hope that we can make those corrections ahead of the game against Angola,” Owuor said after the match.
His sentiments were echoed by point guard Tyler Okari who was Kenya’s best performer in the game.
“Our shots have to go in that was the key today. It is all about confidence. We need to forget about today but we have to go through the videos and see what we did wrong and I think tomorrow (Thursday) we just have to come out and compete. We need to raise the level and play the way we are supposed to play,” the Denmark based star stated.
On an evening that Kenya failed to match up with the prowess of the Senegalese, Okari managed a near triple double, hitting 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
He hooped in six of his seven free throw attempts, but only made 25pc of the four free throw attempts he had in the game.
Desmond Owili and Ariel Okall contributed 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Morans were let down by a hugely below per fourth quarter where they only managed one basket against Senegal’s 32 points. They had started the contest well, tying 19-ups in the first quarter but dimmed to a 28-14 deficit in the second.
The performance in the third quarter was worth being proud of as the Kenyans, seeking a first continental ticket in 27 years edged out Senegal scoring 19 points against the West Africans’ 11.
Meanwhile, Owuor was left ruing the absence of centre Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota who according to The Daily Nation failed to report to camp after a confusion over his COVID clearance from DR Congo where he had gone to play a tournament before returning to Kigali.
“We missed him but we have to go on with the games, we will work with the unit we are having and focus on competing hard to win the games that are ahead of us,” Coach Owuor stated.
Against Angola, Kenya has a tall order but Okari believes they can compete and try to get their campaign back on track.
“It is not a do or die game because we still have the second leg to come. We need to step up against Angola,” he said.
A loss against the Angolans who just like Senegal were in last year’s FIBA World Cup will mean the Morans are left with a must win tie against Mozambique in their final match.
The top three teams will make it to the final tournament next year and Kenya needs to beat at least one team twice or win at least three games in the two-legged Championship.