The National men’s basketball team, Kenya Morans, will take on Nigeria in their second match at the FIBA Afrobasket in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday evening.
The team will be looking to bounce back after starting their campaign with a defeat at the hands of Ivory Coast in their opening match on Wednesday night. Coach Liz Mills and Captain Tyler Okari have said they are ready to bounce back when they face the powerhouse.
“It is all about tightening our defense and the ability to handle pressure. We also have to tidy up our offense because we know we are facing a good team,” Coach Mills said.
Skipper Okari added; “I think the coach has done her job and prepared us well, now it is just up to us to step into the court and do the best that we can/ It is a tough game against an experienced team but I also believe we are a good side.”
Kenya started its campaign at the Afrobasket with an 88-70 loss at the hands of Ivory Coast on Wednesday. The Morans, making their first Afrobasket appearance in 29 years had started the game well and tied with the Ivorians 39-39 at halftime.
But they let their guard down in the second half of the game, losing to a team coach Mills said they should have won.
“Our goal was to win our first game. The way we started is not the way we wanted. We played a great 35 minutes of basketball but the last five minutes let us down. Ivory Coast didn’t beat us but we beat ourselves. They are not a team better than us,” said Coach Mills.
Skipper Okari added; “We had 22 turnovers in the game and that was the difference. If we had been better with our possession then I believe we would have had a better result. But we have to move on from there and ensure we improve,” added the Denmark based Point Guard.
Against the Ivorians, Okari was Kenya’s best man on the court after picking 25 points. Tom Wamukota had nine while Albert Odero scored eight for the Morans.
They will come up against a very tough Nigeria side which started off their competition with an 81-73 victory over Mali. The team does not have all its eight NBA stars who were at the Tokyo Olympic Games, but they will still be a formidable opponent for the Kenyan side.
Against Mali, Benjamin Emelogu who plays pro basketball in France with Rouen Metropole Basket was the best player with an 18-point haul and he will be one of those players the Morans will be watching out for when they play on Friday evening.
Nigeria are hugely experienced having been at the Afrobasket 18 times, won once in 2015, finished second four times and won bronze thrice.