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Kenya Morans hope to reach Afrocan final again in Angola

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The Kenya Morans team
  • The Morans reached the final of the last edition in 2019
  • They are drawn in Group A with Ivory Coast and Gabon
  • They start their campaign against Ivory Coast

The Kenya Morans will take on Ivory Coast in their opening match at the FIBA Afrocan tournament in Angola, and their focus will be on getting to another final, and battling for gold.

The team reached the final after a brilliant fight in the 2019 edition, and all eyes and focus will be on them in Luanda as they start another campaign, with the intention of upgrading their silver to gold.

The Morans have been drawn in Pool A and will take on Ivory Coast, whom they open the tournament with on Saturday, as well as Gabon, who they play on Monday.

Head coach Cliff Owuor has said the team has trained well and is confident they have what it takes to make another charge at the final. “We have trained well and improved over time. I believe we can go all the way to the final and go for gold,” Owuor said.

He has admitted though that they will be under pressure as more teams will now focus on them as opposed to 2019 when they were considered outsiders.

“Definitely there is some pressure but we got to embrace it if we want to win. We know we have people behind supporting us and we want to represent the country well. We will try rise above that pressure and perform,” the tactician said.

Done his homework on opponents 

Kenya Morans coach Cliff Owuor

The tactician says he has done his homework on all the opponents and remains confident that they have what it takes to sail into the knockout phases.

The winners of each of the four groups qualify for the quarters, while the second and third placed teams are paired against each other and the four winners will progress to the last eight.

While Gabon are making their Afrocan debut, Ivory Coast are returning having finished 10th at the last edition in 2019.

The Ivorians reached the final of the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket, losing by just three points to Tunisia. The Morans are waiting to see what squad the West Africans bring to Angola, but they expect a tough duel.

The Morans had faced the Ivorians in the group phase of that Afrobasket edition, losing 88-70.

The team will be without several players who were crucial in the run up at the Afrobasket, including star power forward Tyler Ongwae, Desmond Owili, Ronnie Gundo, Okall Koranga, Valentine Nyakinda and Joseph Khaemba. However, coach Owuor expects the rest of the players called up to step up to duty.

Among the new players who will make up the squad include the USA based point guard Derrick Ogechi as well as Kenya Ports Authority’s Eugene Adera, last season’s Premier League Most Valuable Player.

Ortega earns slot in the team 

Kenya Morans debutant Derrick Ogechi

USIU’s Ariel Ortega has also earned a slot in the travelling 12, while Faheem Juma has been dropped.

Meanwhile,l Centre Tom Wamukota who plays in Rwanda says the team is ready and upbeat to challenge for the title, and says they have prepared well.

“The team is looking good and we have mostly the same pieces we had in 2019 plus an addition of a few more faces. The preparations have been okay and we have a solid team. We look forward to coming back with the gold,” Wamukota said.

The team starts their campaign against the Ivorians on Saturday at 11:30am.

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