Yet another national team has been snubbed by the government after the ministry failed to honour its promise of delivering funds to facilitate the team’s trip to Senegal.
The women’s basketball national team had to leave out a part of this squad because they lacked the funds to cater for the trip. The Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) will now send a team of 14 to Senegal contrary to the initial 17 who were to travel to the West African country for the upcoming Fiba Women Africa Cup of Nations (Afrobasket) championships.
KBF chairman Paul Otula said that it is a shame that the federation had to drop an assistant coach and two players from this important event in order to send a lean team to Senegal and avoid a heavy fine from the world basketball governing body, Fiba.
“This is a big shame on the part of the government who keep blowing hot and cold. We have waited in vain and have therefore decided to resort to plan B to ensure we are not fined for confirming then failing to travel for the championships,” Otula charged.
Recently, the men’s team represented the country well during the Fiba men Africa Cup of Nations in Bamako, Mali. The Morans went against all odds to make it to the finals of the tournament they were participating in for the first time. After the promise the Morans showed in Bamako, it was clear that Kenyan basketball has quality but just lacks the support.
Just like their women counterparts, the Morans travelled to Bamako without sponsorship from the Sports Fund. The team was able to travel to Bamako for the tournament courtesy of a sponsorship deal the local basketball governing body made with Badoer Investments. In fact, the kits the players used in the tournament was sponsored by a member of the team.
The women team will have to travel in two batches to Senegal because they could not make it to travel as one unit. The first group took off via Ethiopian Airline at 5.00am on Thursday while the other group left at 8.00 am aboard Kenya Airways.
Kenya is in group ‘D’ which also has Mozambique and Ivory Coast. Group ‘A’ is comprised of Senegal, Egypt and Ivory Coast while group ‘B’ has Nigeria, Cameroon, and Tunisia. Group C has Mali, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Those traveling are Samba Mjomba, Debra Obunga, Georgia Adhiambo, Silalei Shani, Belinda Okoth, Vilma Achieng, Mercy Wanyama, Hilda Indasi, Annrose Mandela and Betty Kananu.
Completing the travelling party are officials led by coach Ronnie Owino, team manager Maxim Milimu, a referee and a team doctor.