KENYA : Basketball Star Kiganya ready for Senior Championships
By ERICK OCHIENG’
Former US College Basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Peter Kiganya is among local stars that have been drafted to play in the All-Star senior basketball championship next week.
The Lone Star Conference two-time MVP, who played basketball on sports scholarship at Abilene Christian University in the US, is not only a basketball player but also an actor. After unsuccessfully pursuing acting career in the US, Kiganya returned to Kenya and rejoined Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
Five years later, luck smiled at him again when Tony Maudlin, an American missionary carrying out projects in Kenya, spotted him and helped him get a basketball scholarship to the US.
"Through him, I got a basketball scholarship," said Kiganya.
He went back to the US in 1997 to pursue the sports scholarship at Abilene Christian University, where he also undertook a course in electronic media till 2002.
The course involved integration of new media that includes photography, design and video editing. While at the college, he worked with KTAB TV, an American TV channel, as part of the production crew of sports news.
The media-savvy Kiganya emerged the MVP at the college’s Lone Star Conference League in his third year and got openings in South American countries, including Paraguay and Chile, where he played in the main leagues. He was voted the MVP in 2001 in the Paraguay’s Basketball League and was named Best Foreign Player in Chile in 2002.
He has also played professional basketball in the national leagues of Uruguay, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. This year, he emerged the MVP with regional champions Co-op Bank at the East and Central Africa Clubs’ Champonships in Burundi.
He has never played in the US National Basketball Association League, but he doesn’t regret it.
"In the US, apart from being talented, people have to know you. One has to be outstanding and Television also plays major role as it makes it easier for scouts to identify you," explained Kiganya.
Though he has been on and off in the country, Kiganya keeps abreast with the developments in the game locally. He has been attached to Co-op Bank since 2006, where he plays when the foreign leagues are in recess. His greatest achievement has been forming and sponsor Friends of Basketball of Kenya, a men’s Division One League team.
He urges local basketball officials to embrace tournaments like All-Star Senior Basketball Tournament to improve standards of basketball in schools, saying it would help revamp the game locally.
All-Star Basketball Competition Manager Sammy Kirya, says the inclusion of prolific players like Kiganya and South Africa-based Rodney Genga would help raise the level of competition.
At the weekend, Kiganya led Co-op Bank to beat Posta 82-74 in the KBF men’s Premier League play-offs, with 14 points to his credit.