By PHILIP ONYANGO
The Kenya Ports Authority management has threatened to withdraw the parastatal’s basketball teams from the national league if teams continue to skip Mombasa for their basketball matches.
At the same time, KPA personnel manager Jane Kamau has threatened to crack the whip on the KPA team managers who she said were lobbying for their teams to play single fixtures in Nairobi, saying the corporation was losing a lot of money through such deals.
“I have been quiet but I will now act on the basketball if it will mean withdrawing the teams altogether,” Kamau, who called the Nation to react on a story, said.
She said KPA has a home ground and has a right to play their home matches in Mombasa regardless of the format of the playoffs and asked the team managers who are responsible for the fixtures to act responsibly.
“We never had this problem of teams skipping the Mombasa fixtures before, when KBF [Kenya Basketball Federation] was responsible for the fixtures. There must be a total change of attitude from those arranging the fixtures, otherwise they will bring the league to its knees,” a visibly angry Kamau said.
“I have been investigating the matter for a while now and the report I’m getting is that some KPA officials have been colluding with the fixtures department for single matches so that the teams can travel several times to Nairobi,” she said.
Kamau asked KBF to take over the running of the fixtures department as was the case before and bring sanity in the game so that all teams can be given fair treatment.
“I am not going to allow KPA to travel away for any match now until I am satisfied that they have played enough home matches, including the first leg home game against Eagle Wings which has been pending for a while now,” she said.
KBF secretary Vitalis Gode said the federation will do all that is possible to ensure that teams get fairness as far as the fixtures are concerned.
But he was quick to point out that it will not interfere with the fixtures, which the team managers demanded to control during their standoff with the federation early in the year.
KCB team manager George Nyundo had in a statement said most team were skipping the Mombasa fixtures to minimise expenses after realising that they would be in the eight-team playoff in a system set to be introduced this year.
This was after KPA head coach Anthony Ojukwu complained that teams were skipping Mombasa fixtures, making KPA to travel several times for away matches, which he said fatigued the players.
Meanwhile, International Christian Centre are determined to finish in the top position of the men’s basketball premier regular season after defeating their rivals Posta at Nyayo National Stadium at the weekend.
They however had to battle from behind to beat Posta 76-62 to maintain their lead on the nine-team table standings with 22 points. ICC, who lost the first leg 64-61 to the mailmen in the first week of the season, have won nine matches and lost four.
Posta had threatened to spoil the party for ICC when they won the first two quarters 18-17 and 20-18, respectively. Led by Philip Dinga and Paul Ojuoga, ICC ran riot in the third quarter to kill off Posta’s dream of completing a double against them.
They won 20-9 in the quarter and had a 21-15 win in the final one to confirm that they are set to clinch their first league title.
Dinga shot a game-high 24 points while Ojuoga added 18. Veteran guard Ben Oluoch hit 15 and Desmo Owili 11 for the mailmen.
Men: ICC 22 points, Strathmore University 22, KCB Lions 20, Co-op Bank 19, KPA 18, Posta 18, Lomboritz 16, Tigers of USIU-A 15, Terrorists 11
Women: Eastern Queens 21, KCA-U 19, KPA 17, Eagle Wings 16, Sprite Storms 16, Yana 14, Flames of USIU-A 14, Strathmore 13, Mennonites 12
Men’s Division One: MMUST 26, Mennonites 23, World Hope 22, KCA-U 20, Parklands Baptist 20, Nakuru Club 16, NPC 14, Blazers 13, ANU 10
ICC 76 Posta 62, KPA 86 Tigers 84, Terrorists 54 Lomboritz 49, KPA 66 Flames 26, MMUST 87 ANU 56, Co-op Bank 72 KCB Lions 70, Eastern Queens 61 Eagle Wings 66, Parklands Baptist 68 NPC 44, Mennonites 72 MMUST 64