W: Egypt 57-63 Kenya
M: Somalia 79-97 Kenya
Kenya’s national sides played their first games at this year’s Zone V Nations Qualifiers at Lugogo MTN Arena. It was double joy for Kenya as the ladies edged Egypt 63-57 and the men blew-out Somalia who were barely present after the first quarter 97-79.
Kenya’s coach Anthony Ojukwu couldn’t hide his delight. “I am very happy with the win. Being the first game in the round-robin, it is a good start because it motivates players” he told Kawowo Sports.
After a competitive opening period in which Somalia were edged 22-21, Kenya started to pull away in the second as the turned up their aggressiveness a notch higher, stepped up their defense and eventually took their lead into double figures in the third quarter – they never looked back.
“Our strategy (after the first quarter) was to put pressure on the ball and we managed to do that. We watched them play yesterday (Sunday) and that helped us figure them out” Ojukwu said.
Big man, Desmond Owili led Kenya with 16 points, William Ochieng added 15 points of the bench. Game veteran, Ancette Wafula contributed 14 points while Ariel Oual and Victor Odendo chipped in with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Somalia’s Captain Yusuf Qafoow who netted game high 23 points in a losing effort bemoaned their loss of heads but was happy with his teammates.
“We lost our heads when the shots were not going in and we made a lot of turnovers (26). I myself made like 10 (actually 8) and that is not me” Qafoow told Kawowo Sports.
Forward, Osman Olol nailed 21 points going 5-for-10 from distance and picked game high 9 rebounds and swatted 3 shots. Tabit Mohamed and Ahmed Eman contributed 14 points each.
“Am very disappointed (with the two losses) but am happy with the guys. They gave it all” Qafoow said.
Qafoow also reserved some praise for the Kenyans. “Those guys were aggressive on offense and they got to the line”
Meanwhile, Kenya’s ladies and defending champions edged Egypt 63-57. Brigid Nanzala grabbed a big double-double (16 points & 10 rebounds) to lead the Kenyans. Hilda Luvandwa chipped in with 14 while Vilma Achieng and Samba Mjomba scored 10 apiece.
Soraya Mohamed scored team high 14 points for Egypt, Reem Ousrama added 12 and Sarah Massoyo had 10.