Morans: Owuor sticks with same squad

By Lynette Matheka
Wednesday, October 14th, 2020
Griffin Ligare, right.
In summary

 National men’s basketball team,  Morans, have finally gotten the nod from the government to use Nyayo Indoor Gymnasium for their preparations ahead of next month’s Afrobasket qualifiers set for Kigali,  Rwanda. 

With contact sports yet to return following the suspension to help curb the spread of Covid-19 in March, the squad has remained inactive except at a personal level. 

In the interest of time, as the team has barely six weeks to prepare for the competition, Morans coach Cliff Owuor has stuck with the squad that did duty in the pre-qualifiers hosted in January and those who were part of Afro-CAN competition held in Bamako, Mali, last year.  

“I am meeting the local based players to work on a training schedule. I intend for us to put our house in order and begin training as soon as possible.

Discussions on when they will be available are also on with the foreign based players as some have league matches going on,” said Owuor. 

The tactician believes they still have enough time to get the squad in competitive mode if they manage one training session daily for the local based players before the rest of the squad joins camp. 

Denmark-based Tylor Ongwae is the only squad member whose league has since resumed.  

In a previous interview, coach Owuor hinted at having four US-based players join the squad to add depth. 

However, he says discussions are still on and he will have a definite answer on the issue in a fortnight. 

The first leg of the qualifiers, initially scheduled for Senegal but have since been moved to Kigali, where Group A, B and D will hold their qualifiers as FIBA adopted the ‘bubble’ setting, will be played on November 27-29.

Owuor’s charges will be looking to manage a top three finish in their group B that has Senegal,  record title holders Angola, and Mozambique to qualify for the continental showpiece for the first time in 27 years. 

“We are the group’s underdogs on paper since the other three teams are ranked above us.

We will use that tag to prove ourselves on that stage. We respect them but that does not mean we fear them,” added Owuor. 

Morans qualified for the qualifiers after beating five other nations, including the fast rising Luol-Deng led South Sudan, in the pre-qualifiers held in January.  

Deng’s charges, however, have another chance at the qualifiers as they face Cape Verde, Chad and Zimbabwe in Yaounde on October 23-25. 

The winner joins group E that has Morocco, Egypt and Uganda.  The group’s qualifiers will be held in Egypt.