Kenya Morans’ Australian trainer Elizabeth Mills planned to overthrow favorite Senegal in her group “B” opening game of the second and final round of Afrobasket qualification on Friday at the Palais Des Sports Complex here in Yaounde.
The highly anticipated game ends at 4:00 p.m. Kenyan time.
Kenya Morans will be aware of the 38-point loss they suffered last November in Kigali, Rwanda, to the veteran Senegalese team, which itches for revenge.
Other teams in the group are Angola and Mozambique.
The top three teams will qualify for the African final later this year. Kenya was last seen in 1993 in a continental showpiece.
Mills believes she has the squad that can stop the otherwise very tall and strong Senegalese.
“As much as we want to respect all the teams at these championships, we are not afraid of anyone. We have trained very well and it is now time to put what we learned into practice when the real action begins on Friday,” Mills said during an interview at the team’s Meumi Hotel here in Yaounde.
Senegal is undoubtedly one of the best basketball nations in Africa, but Mills thinks the Kenyan team in Yaounde is much better than the one that played in Kigali and will push hard for a reversal of fortune against the fantasized West Africans.
“We know they are very big, arguably the biggest team in these championships, so we want to force them to play half-court basketball, which will help us prevent their transition,” said the Morans coach, who a masters degree in coaching and has counseling said. She said they would put a lot of defensive pressure on the Senegalese to force them to make mistakes.
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Offensively, Mills says Morans will make the transition and attack their opponents from dribbling for easy hoops.
“They are very tall, so dribbling intruders is a good way to foul them so we can slow their pace,” said the veteran Mills, who has also coached the Zambian and Cameroonian teams. Mills downplayed Captain Griffin Ligare’s very late arrival, saying he would still go straight to the team.
“I want my players to understand that their time to perform is now and so the entire nation will expect them to give their all to this game,” said Mills.
Kenya can count on internationally experienced Joel Awich, Tylor Okari and Preston Bungei to keep up with the formidable Senegalese.
Kenya will face Angola on Saturday before finishing their qualifiers against Mozambique on Sunday.