NAIROBI (National team) – With a minimum of one month’s training, Kenya teams would have beaten host Rwanda and booked their ticket to the Africa Nations Cup in Libya, captain Peter Kiganya believes.
In an exclusive interview with Fiba after the team returned home from Kigali, Rwanda where they had gone to participate in the Zone Five qualifiers, Kiganya noted that the team gave out their best against the hosts “despite the circumstances.”
“If we can lose to Rwanda by that slim margin with all that we went through, it means the team would have posted far better results in the championships.” Kiganya, who plays professional basketball in South America said without elaborating.
He said that Rwanda brought home six professional but still beat us only 81-67, this clearly shows that Kenya did put up such a fight and were not pushover.
“Against Egypt, he said Kenya were humiliated 101-39 not because they winners were superior but because Kenya were still tired after many hours on the road.
“We were on the road for close to 30 hours arriving in Kigali late the next day day and went out to meet Egypt , a team that flew there and had rested enough for this match.” he noted.
He said that the fact that Kenya scored 39 points against Egypt as compared to 41 scored by Rwanda who were playing at home before their fanatical fans showed the team was up to scratch.” To us that is something,” he said.
He reiterated what a Kenyan coach Cliff Owour, who handles Rwandese champions APR had said earlier that the level of competition in the region has improved considerably over the years and Kenya just needed to prepare well for better results.
He appealed Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) not to keep changing the composition of the team every time there is a championships but should inject new players into the side gradually and only when there is need to.
“I was asked by the Rwandese why we brought a different team from the one that played there in 2007 and I told them that this was so because Kenya had so many good players that can do national duty if called upon.” he said.
Kiganya guaranteed that if KBF ensures players prepared well here and included some few players from the USA, then the future of the game in the country is bright.
” I do talk to those players in the USA every other time and what they need is only a return ticket from the federation and they will be home ready for national assignments any day.”
He said that there is absolutely no need to call as many as up to 30 players into camp and then start dropping them one by one after only a few days of training. This is not fair as others take time to adapt.
“Just call about 18 and this can easily be done by the many coaches who handle premier league teams and journalists who watch these matches as well, from there a small squad can be named and trained for the tournaments. I can assure you the difference could be one or two players only”. he noted.
He said that he was highly impressed with the performance of guard Griffins Ligare and post William Otieno, who were playing in their first international games.”The duo were great.” said Kiganya.
KBF would have included about three players just to go out there and be part of the experience adding ” having a player like Desmond Owili would have been just since it would have changed his perspective of the game.”
Kenya men finished third behind Egypt and Rwanda while the ladies were placed second in an event won by the Rwandese.