KENYA : Basketball league starts on high note

Basketball Federation (KBF) National Classic League kicked off on a high note at the weekend.

Teams displayed a cautious approach on their quest for this season’s title since Eagle Wings and KCB clinched men’s and women’s Premier titles last season.

But, just like the start of last season’s league that ended in December, confusion marred this season’s kick-off as some of the participating teams failed to show up, claiming to have informed KBF on time.

Confusion arose when men’s Premier League champions Eagle Wings arrived at Nyayo National stadium ready to play Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U), who failed to show up at the venue as the players were sitting their exams.

Coach furious

A furious Eagle Wings coach Smatts Olumbo has since demanded that points be awarded to his team from the aborted fixture.

But newly-promoted sides like Kenya Polytechnic University, Emyba and Friends of Basketball gave a good account of themselves in men’s Division One League.

Emyba got a free ride when Africa Nazarene University failed to reach at the venue and KBF have a reason to be concerned, as some teams might just not turn up.

Champions KCB, Co-op Bank, Baptist and Mennonites posted positive results.KCB proved they are a force to reckon with when they fell newly-promoted Blazers 71-41 in a competitive match.

A see saw play was witnessed in the clash between Co-operative Bank and the International Christian Centre (ICC) won by the bankers 68-63.

ICC coach Fred Omondi expressed hope that the team, which finished third in the league behind the Kenya Ports Authority, would improve once a sponsorship deal with National Social Security Fund is established. ICC is church-sponsored, but a boost from NSSF would put the team in a better financial footing.

Like last year, Nakuru Club commenced the league on a negative note, losing to Mennonites 84-49.

Meanwhile, Kenya will participate in the FIBA Africa Under-18 championships. Kenyan boys’ and girls’ teams did not qualify for the events to be staged in Rwanda and Egypt in August but will participate following massive pullouts by countries owing to lack of funds.