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Equity, KPA turn focus to quarters in Africa event

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By PHILIP ONYANGO
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Equity Bank women basketball team registered a 74-49 loss against Fiba Africa Champions Cup favourites Interclub of Angola in their final group A match here on Wednesday.

Interclub had earlier beaten hosts Ferroviario de Maputo 77-70 to confirm top place in group A at the same venue on Tuesday night.

Equity seemed destined for a thorough beating after a 23-04 first quarter and a 44-15 halftime score line.

Equity coach Carey Odhiambo changed tact and went for a more defensive set up in the third quarter with his ladies contested every shot while at the same time denying his opponents scoring chances and they triumphed 22-18 in the third quarter.

Betty Kananu once again led the score sheets for Equity with 13 points, while Belinda Okoth contributing eight.

With Interclub star Italee Lucas out for most of the game, Angeline Golome led with 15 points, while Amenda Thomson had 14 for the Angolans, who now top group A going into the last eight.

“We knew very well that they are tactfully superior and therefore worked to contain them with occasional breaks which worked for us,” said Odhiambo.

Equity were to find out who their quarter-final opponents would be later on Wednesday night after the match between First Bank and I.N.S.S.

Kenya Ports Authority, who occupy third spot in group B after completing their group matches on Tuesday, had a rest day ahead of the quarter-final matches which begin Friday.

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Meanwhile, Bonnie Salano the United States International University (USIU) sports official has recommended that the national classic basketball league should drop university and college teams and reduce the number of teams in the league to eight.

Salano, who is in Maputo for the ongoing Africa championships, says that the fact that Kenyan teams continue to struggle on the continental level despite dominating at home should be an indication that the local leagues need a paradigm shift.

“Kenyan teams and KPA women for example have been around for decades and should by now be dining with the rest at the queens table, not struggling to qualify for the knockout stages,” said Salano at the Maxaquene indoor courts after watching both KPA and Equity Bank register crucial wins on Tuesday.

“We cannot continue like this, let clubs be reduced to eight which in my opinion is the only way we will ensure they register only quality players while the colleges play their own league to act as feeders to these clubs whenever the students are done with college,” Salano added.

This he believes will ensure that the quality of players featuring in the league will be only of the highest calibre and the same will reflect on the international level.

Kenya Basketball Federation Treasurer Peter Orero agrees with Salano but adds that this can only be achieved if the league had a sponsor.

“We wanted to have an eight-team league this year but the sponsor who had shown interest later chickened out but we are still very open to discussions,” he said via phone from Nairobi.

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