KPA champions won’t rest until they claim Zone Five title

KPA’s Vilma Awino (right) in action against Eagle Wings during a KBF Women League match at Nyayo Stadium on September 3. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Defending champion Kenya Ports Authority is a team on a mission.

Defending the Fiba-Africa Zone Five women’s basketball title is their goal.

Once the championships begin in Dar es Saalam, Tanzania on September 26, they won’t rest until they clinch the gold medal on October 1.

According to head coach Anthony Ojukwu, the team embarked on vigorous training sessions ahead of the championships which have Equity Bank as the other Kenyan team in the tournament.

“We know how tough the competition was because every team wants to win the event,” Ojukwu said.

“We train twice a day, including at night, as we expect some matches to be played under floodlights in Tanzania,” the coach said.

The Championship runners-up will qualify for the Cup final tour scheduled for Mozambique from December 9-18.

KPA are the defending zone five champions after beating Equity Hawks 71-35 in the 2021 Championships final in Tanzania.

Kenyan clubs have dominated the leagues over the years, but Equity relinquished the title to Uganda’s JKL Dolphins in 2019 before KPA took it back last year. The championship did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are the defending champions and we have been training to retain the title for the second year on the trot. We are aware that our opponents are training to snatch the title from us, but we are well prepared for them,” said Ojukwu.

Equity Bank head coach David Maina said his team knew what was expected of them. They played friendlies every Thursday against men’s teams. My concern is that we have gone almost two months without league games, which has affected our concentration. Premier League games are more competitive and allow the girls to be in top form throughout,” Maina said.