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Atieno eyes Europe after Syschelles

National basketball women’s team and former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) forward Lynette Atieno is set to quit her current side Syschelles Club Mont Fleuri and could be headed to either Spain or Morocco.

Atieno proved herself in Seychelles after helping her side end a nine-year wait for the league title last season, averaging 25 points per game, 10 rebounds and five assists. The player was also crowned the best foreign player in the league which only reserves the Most Valuable Player (MVP) accolade for local stars.

Speaking to PD Wikendi, Atieno says her trip to Tunisia with her colleagues while at KPA in 2015 for the Fiba Africa Women’s Club Championships was her turning point.

“I was approached by one of the officials from First Bank before we reached a deal that occasioned my transfer from KPA to the Nigerian league. It was an opportune moment to prove my mettle in what is arguably a more accomplished league,” she said.

How it all began

The 26-year-old had a short stint with First Bank before quitting on grounds of an “unfulfilled agreement” but it was not long before another Nigerian side Dolphins came calling.

At Dolphins, the player averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game before her one season stint came to an end, having helped the Nigerian powerhouse finish third.

She then joined Fleuri last August. Atieno has so far received invitations from Spain and Morocco but she is yet to settle for any of the offers as she continues negotiations over the transfers.

Big dreams

“I am really excited about this development to join what will be a more competitive league. I have haboured dreams of joining WNBA (the women’s equivalent of NBA) in the United States or the big European leagues and I think this is the way to achieving that,” she added.

Lack of attention

The player faults lack of attention given to basketball in the country, saying it is the key reason Kenya cannot compete favourably against other teams in the continent. This is despite Kenya being among the best countries in basketball two decades ago.

“Good results require some serious investment in structures that help players grow career wise. Locally, we lack a clear mechanism of nurturing the many talents we have in this country and there is absolutely no motivation for players,” explained Atieno. Atieno started her career at Mennonites before joining Co-Operative Bank, KPA and Machakos-based Masaku Sparks.

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