Battle for bragging rights for the 2017 Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) league throws off today with Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) sides set to face off with Equity Bank Hawks and Strathmore University Blades in the women’s and men’s finals respectively.
The matches are played at the Africa Nazarene University Helstrom Student Centre Saturday and Sunday when teams clash in Game One and Game Two before travelling to Mombasa from February 24 for the remaining matches.
KPA ladies’ coach Antony Ojukwu is upbeat ahead of the matches where he is hoping to start his title campaign on a winning note against the defending champions Hawks. “We respect them as champions but we go into the match as favourites.
That, however, does not mean we will underrate them we have everything to lose in the finals,” said Ojukwu. KPA have reached the finals unbeaten and also defeated Hawks in the Africa Zone Five finals as well as in the Classification games held in Angola. However, the side might have a slight setback as three of their players who are under the weather do not recover before match time.
They are Rose Ndela, Lilian Adera and Yvonne Akinyi who is returning from a knee injury. In the men’s category KPA coach Samuel Kiki has accorded Blades the respect they deserve for fighting their way to their first-ever finals saying that he will not underrate them. “Blades is a very aggressive team and they play as a unit thus I am not expecting to have it easy.
I know they will be coming to us strong but we have prepared accordingly and we will approach them one match at a time,” Kiki said, thankful for having all his squad members fit. Blades coach Tony Ochieng who will be missing the services of Pascal Nabwana who is out with a groin injury is hoping to stop KPA’s scoring machines for the home wins ahead of their matches in Mombasa.
“We have prepared well both defensively and offensively. We do not expect easy matches and will slightly miss the backing we would have had hadd we played at Strathmore but that will not affect our play at all.
We are taking one match at a time aiming at the trophy,” said Ochieng. In the men’s Division Two Finals EMYBA take on KDF Morans while Masaku Sparks play Footprints in Division One women’s Finals.