Kenya basketball representatives at the Africa Women’s Club Champions Cup, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) on Friday warned their rivals to rule them out at their own peril.
KPA will be among the eight teams who will converge in Cairo, Egypt for a six-day tournament next week. The Zone Five basketball club champions feel their outing in Dar es Salaam will spur them to victory in Egypt.
Hosts Al Ahly, defending champions Ferroviario of Mozambique and former champions Inter Club of Angola are the dominant sides, but KPA coach Cliff Owuor is confident to navigate through the preliminaries and reach the finals on Dec. 15.
“This team has been on a cruise going up and raising the bar. The Africa Women’s Club Champions Cup is another hurdle in our path that we are confident to jump over. Since 2016, we have been gaining in rank and now we have a superior team for the contest. We are ready to battle for the trophy,” said team manager Chris Ogutu.
FIBA Africa had planned to stage the tournament in Antananarivo, Madagascar, but logistical challenges for the hosts made the continental basketball governing body to transfer it to Cairo.
Other teams are Air Warriors and M.F.B.B from Nigeria, Energie club from Benin, A.S.B Makomeno from Democratic Republic of Congo and Sporting Club from Egypt.
Ogutu is optimistic, his players will weather the storm and bring glory to Kenya by winning the tournament, to break the three-decade jinx of failure to win the Africa Club competitions.
“The players have now improved on their speed, rotation, and dribbling. Their agility will be key to tame their rivals and place any opponent under pressure,” he said.
KPA will be playing their final league matches in Nairobi over the weekend, which they hope to use to gauge their skills prior to jetting out to Cairo on Monday.
The men’s KPA team will be traveling to Kigali for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers. KPA is in Eastern Africa Division under Group H, which will pitch camp in Kigali while Group G (Western Africa division) will be in Yaounde, Cameroon in the ‘Elite 16’ for the right to qualify to the Basketball Africa League (BAL) 2020 regular season starting in March.
Hosts Forces Armees et de Police (FAP) of Cameroonians have been drawn in the Elite 16’s Group A alongside Nigelec Basket Club of Niger, Algeria’s Groupement Sportif des Petroliers and Al Naser from Libya while Group B consists of Abidjan Basketball Club from Cote d’Ivoire, BC Mazembe of DR Congo, Gabon’s Manga Basketball and AS Police from Mali.
In Rwanda, KPA will be up against Ferroviario de Maputo, Cobra (South Sudan) and City Oilers. Others are Patriots of Rwanda, GNBC (Madagascar), Unza Pacers (Zambia) and JKT (Tanzania).
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, where the teams that finish in the first three places will qualify for the Basketball African League regular season in March 2020 to join champions from Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia have their places ensured in the 12-team BAL regular season.