Lynette Matheka in Dar es Salaam @PeopleSport11
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) women’s team cruised past Tanzania’s Jeshi ya Kujenga Taifa (JKT) to record their second win in the six-team FIBA Africa Zone Five Championship ongoing at the Tanzania Nation Stadium Indoor Arena.
The Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) defending champions ran riot over the host to register their biggest win so far at 75-43 and show their intend in defending the zonal title.
“I am still struggling with team chemistry as was evident in the match against JKT. It is not about the score-line but how we play and our dispay was not impressive.
We have rookies who are yet to settle in the competition but we are taking it one match at a time and they are getting better,” said coach Antony Ojukwu.
Ann Atieno had a match high 15 points while Mercy Wanyama followed it up with 13. Sarah Budodi top scored for JKT with 12 points. The Tanzanians were the better side in the third quarter with 18 points aginst Kenya’s 17 but could not catch up.
“We are targeting the Zone Five finals as that will ensure we book a slot in the final tour where we play against the best in the continent. Last year we improved from a seventh place finish in 2016 to fifth and want a chance to improve on that,” Ojukwu added.
The coach admits that missing Betty Kananu and Seline Okumu has had a negative impact on the team’s morale and mental strength of some players. He, however, says that they have found worthy replacements for the two.
Meanwhile, Strathmore University Blades have their final group match today against Wolkite City of Ethiopia where a win will present the students a chance to feature in the quarters slated for Friday.
The university side yesterday lost their third match 72-30 against Patriots of Rwanda. The Tony Ochieng coached side held their own in the first half of the match playing to quarters of 11-4 and 15-15 to head to the breather with a seven-point deficit.
However, the students crumbled under pressure in the second half of the match as the Rwandese outscored them to finish the third set at 26-47. The final quarter was disastrous for Ochieng’s charges as they managed just four points from a three-pointer and a free throw in 10 minutes while their opponents took their count to 70 for the win.
“This has been our worst performance in the championship so far.
We have been improving match by match but against the Rwandese my players lacked the mental strength to hold on for a better score. I am looking forward to a win in today’s match as that will see us through to the quarters which will be a great achievement for is,” said coach Ochieng.
Strathmore are missing the services of some key players who failed to travel to Dar es Salaam for various reasons. Ochieng’s biggest blow is the absence of big man Brian Onyango who sustained an injury five days to the championship. Five more players did not travel due to exams.