Kenya’s representatives at the ongoing FIBA Africa Women’s Champions Cup (ACCW) in Mozambique, Equity Bank Hawks and Kenya Ports Authority are through to the quarter-finals of the 10-team tournament after winning one and two matches respectively.
The Kenyan sides have, however, had it rough as they have face world class teams at the championship. Equity, who are the Zone Five defending champions, managed a 84-75 win against V-Club from Democratic Republic of Congo to reach the quarters.
Equity started slowly but picked their rhythm to lead the scores 42-34 by half-time. Africa Zone Five Most Valuable Player Belinda Okoth led the scoring with 23 points, Selina Okumu added 19 while Hilda Indasi and Betty Kananu registered 15 apiece for the win.
“Games are very difficult at this stage and thus mental and physical preparations are the keys to success in this championship. Most teams here have two or more players from Europe or the United States for this type of championships. In East Africa, we have a long way to go if we are to be considered worthy opponents in this competition,” said Equity coach Carey Odhiambo.
“We are through to the quarters as the tournament has taken a different face and a top eight position in Africa is good for us. That win has given us the assurance that we can be a better team if we maintain the same level,” added Odhiambo.
The championship is dominated by clubs that are fielding foreign players. Hosts Ferroviario de Maputo signed American duo Cierra Robertson-Warren and Carmen Tyson Thomas, a duo with experience in European Leagues while unbeaten InterClube from Angola have Italee Lucas, a US-born player who made it to last year’s team of the tournament.
Home grown talent has also contributed to club performance, top on the list being Nkechi Akashili and Nkem Akaraiwe of Nigeria’s First Bank who were members of the Nigerian national team that reached the quarter-finals at the FIBA Basketball Women’s World Cup two months ago.