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Kenya ‘Morans’ beat mighty Angola, qualify for FIBA AfroBasket for first time in 28 years

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The Kenya men’s basketball team the Morans has made history by beating continental heavyweights Angola 74-73 to qualify for the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 tournament.

The Morans survived the dramatic, edge-of-the-seat, encounter last evening in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Now, they proceed to Kigali, Rwanda, where the tournament will be held.

It is the first time in 28 years that the Morans, traditionally minnows at the sport, have qualified.

The match in Yaoundé started on a low note, with Morans speared 22-9 in the first quarter. In the second, they dug into their recesses of teamwork and determination to claim a 19-17 narrow lead.

Strong 3rd and 4th Quarters

The Morans then sprinted to 25-17 in the third quarter, and 21-17 in the fourth. It was a norm-defying comeback from 13 points against hot favourites Angola.

IMAGE: Kenya Morans beat Angola basketball TV47
Liz Mills, team coach, and players, celebrate the historic victory. “Once our defense fell in place, I knew that our offense was going to pick up as well and that’s what happened,” she says. PHOTO/FIBA

“We started the game poorly,” said Liz Mills, the first woman coach to lead the Morans is quoted by FIBA.basketball as saying. “But I’ve seen the maturity of these players and I knew that at some point things will work out. “Once our defense fell in place, I knew that our offense was going to pick up as well and that’s what happened.”

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Tylor Ongwae, 29, led the Moran’s scoring sheet with 16 points.

“We’ve worked for this all our lives,” Tom Wamukota, who scored 13 points and snatched 8 rebounds told FIBA.basketball. “We started this journey in 2019 when we qualified for the [FIBA] AfroCan. We told ourselves we wanted to be the first generation of players to get back to the continental scene,” Wamukota stressed.

The historic win elicited praise from Kenyans. Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed led in the applauds:

Coach Mills: “Going to Rwanda is great. We beat a powerhouse and it’s a wonderful feeling,” Coach Mills stated before emphasizing “We came here for wins, we’ve taken care of Angola and we want to get things done against Mozambique as well.

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