Yaounde — Kenya Morans coach Liz Mills has spoken of the moments that led up to their historic 74-73 win over Africa basketball powerhouse Angola here on Saturday.
The victory saw them qualify for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers for the first time, besides booking their ticket to the Afrobasket finals after a 28-year wait.
The Australian revealed that she had given firm instructions that the ball be in Tylor Ongwae’s hands for the last play. The moved worked as Ongwae made a jump shot with three seconds to the buzzer sending the Kenyans into a frenzy
Ongwae, who had a brilliant game efficiency of +18, led the Kenyans with 16 points.
“We started slowly but once we locked down on defence,we shut down their opportunities to score and that intensity flowed into our offense. We never gave up and we knew if it was close in the fourth and we could push to win it, “Coach Mills said during an interview at the team’s hotel on Sunday.
Mills said the players believed in themselves from start to finish and praised their great effort which saw them outscore the Angolans and limiting them in transition as well.
“I’m personally proud of all the players. Next up is now the Afrobasket in Rwanda in August and then we get straight to World Cup qualifiers,” she said, adding that Kenya is not going to Rwanda just to participate.
Morans player Tom Bush Wamukota said Ongwe has proved to the world that Kenya is not only known for athletics, but other sports too.
“He has done that move multiple times before. Once you see him catch the ball and say everybody get out of the way, you oblige,” Wamukota said of Ongwae’s last move that earned Kenya the victory.
And an elated Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has joined Kenyans from all walks of life in congratulating the “Morans” for achieving the rare feat saying the results proved Kenyan basketball has come of age.
“With the exceptional support of their technical bench, the Morans have consistently perfected their game and with consistent determination, defied all odds to qualify for the FIBA Afrobasket Championships slated for August this year” the CS said in a statement, saying that the ministry was very proud of Morans having come from behind in the first half to beat Angola, which is one of the finest basketball teams on the African continent, which she is not a mean achievement.
The CS further said that the Ministry has fully facilitated all National Teams to safely resume training to prepare for upcoming continental meets, international championships and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo later this year.
“We ensured that the Morans were well funded, kitted and supported to participate in the Cameroon tour and will do the same for the FIBA Afrobasket Championship scheduled for August, 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda.” Amina said.
The CS’ statement was fully backed by the Kenya Basketball Federation treasurer Peter Orero who thanked the government for fully facilitating the team’s trip to Cameroon.
“KBF identified the players and the coach, while the government facilitated all logistics. Let’s give credit to all those who have walked this journey from 2018 until today,” Orero said.