National team head to Commonwealth after trials
The 3x3 National Basketball Team held its trials for Birmingham Commonwealth on 5th and 6th March 2022 at the University of Nairobi. The team will be making its debut at the Birmingham Games for the first time in the history of Kenyan Basketball. Kenya earned direct qualification for the Summer Games having a current rank of the second-best placed country after Egypt.
Egypt is ranked top, but is not a member of the Commonwealth. Hilmi Ali Juma, the team manager stated they held trials in Mombasa, Eldoret, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kisumu and Nairobi. “We’re hoping to get a good team to the Commonwealth Games. We shall have the U23 and the Seniors just in case Birmingham decides that we are going with either of them. We might be the new kids on the block but we want to go and perform,” he said.- Charles Thuku
Juma who is also the Kenya Basketball Federation first Vice Chairman said the U23 will also have their circuit in May which they are currently bidding to host.This, he noted, is the beginning of the road to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Majority of the players are the U23. We’ve never been in the Olympics and its only one country in East Africa that has ever been in the World Cup. In Tokyo, we had no African country represented, but we are hopeful that now the stage is set to develop players early enough,” Juma said
Melissa Akinyi the Kenya Lionesses’ Captain who has now joined the 3x3 Basketball team also explained the importance of the debut at the Commonwealth Games having served at the 5x5 team.
“We have high expectations with the team that we have formed since it has participated in lower events. Three years ago, we qualified to play at the FIBA level and this time round, we have to prove that we can win a medal in this new game,” Larry Shavanga, senior 3x3 basketball player said.
The men’s team players are William Spencer, Davies Siaji, Philip Tobias, Brian Letina, Jordan Otieno, Larry Aligula, Domnic Adero, Faheem Nganga, George Darril, Martin Buluma, Timothy Ayieko, Brian Gichana, Fredrick Odhiambo, Niva Morgan, David John and Gabriel Onyango.
On the other hand, women team players include, Mercy Mumo, Debra Obungo, Melissa Akinyi, Stella Wekesa, Jemima Omondi, Hilda Ndegwa, Christine Omondi, Joy Mupalia, Leah Wambasi, Winnie Chebet, Nicole Otieno, Lavenda Opondo, Hilda Indasi, Natalia Akinyi, Medina Okot, Victoria Reymonds, Babra Diana
The team will also be heading to Morocco for the Africa World Cup Qualifiers in December. The Winners of the African Qualifiers will proceed to Antwerp, Belgium for the 3x3 Basketball World Cup in 2023.
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