By PHILIP ONYANGO
Thursday January 16, 2020
Kenya Morans celebrate their win against Somalia during their FIBA Afro Basket 2021 Qualifier match at Nyayo Gymnasium stadium in Nairobi on January 16, 2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Somalia gave Kenya a scare before going down 102-77 on day three of the ongoing Fiba Afro basketball pre qualifiers at the Nyayo National stadium Gymnasium on Thursday.
The highly skilful quartet of Australia based Yusuf Qaafon, Mohammed Olol, Mustapha Ali, and Mohammed Warsame were a thorn in the flesh of the Kenyan rear guard, dropping three point shots at will against the otherwise disorganised Kenyans, who had a bad first half as their opponents led 46-44.
After Desmond Owili opened the scoring for Kenya inside the paint, Qaafon replied immediately from beyond the arc, while Guled raced for a fast break as Kenya backpedalled with Fahim Juma and Robert Nyakundi having a bad evening.
Kenya Morans' Bush Wamukota (third left) and Somalia Mohamed Naksame prepare for the start of their FIBA Afro Basket 2021 Qualifier match at Nyayo Gymnasium stadium in Nairobi on January 16, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Valentine Nyakinda, Eric Mutoro, Owili and Griffin Ligare combined well in the final third as Kenya took a narrow 24-23 first quarter lead.
Somalia returned to the second quarter a better side dominating Kenya in all departments with Guled and Qaafon having a field day with a combination of three points play, penetration and post plays to give their side a narrow 46-44 half-time lead.
Kenya coach Cliff Owuor changed the strategy in the second half rotating only seven players- Mutoro, Ligare, Wamukota, Owili, Nyakinda, Okal and Bosire, a move that worked magic as they put the game beyond the reach of Somalia.
Mutoro top scored for Kenya with 31 points, Ligare had 18, while Owili managed 15 points. Somalia had Mustapha Ali with 16 points and Qaafon had 14.
Somalia v Eritrea- 2pm
Tanzania v South Sudan - 4pm
Kenya v Burundi - 6.30pm