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Kenya Morans end woeful World Cup dream with double loss in Egypt

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and the Kenya Morans reaped heavily the fruits of a horrendous and troublesome build up to the second round of the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualification group stage matches after earning back to back losses in Egypt over the weekend.

The Morans’ travel to Egypt where the second phase of group stage matches was taking place was only confirmed in the 11th hour and even with FIBA rescheduling start times for the matches, they still couldn’t make it to their first game against DR Congo.

The Congolese, who the Morans had high hopes of beating in Cairo were given a 20-00 walkover, effectively leaving the team with a mountain to climb with Egypt and Senegal coming up next.

They also had only eight players in the team; five starters and three on the bench, making the already mountainous task even harder.

Kenya Morans line up before their game against Egypt. PHOTO/FIBA

The likes of Tom ‘Bush’ Wamukota and star player Tyler Okari couldn’t travel due to the late confirmation of the trip as the team had to rely on a bail out from FIBA after the government told them their coffers could not finance their budget to Cairo.

Against Egypt on Saturday, the Morans lost 73-39. A late rally in the last two quarters was not enough for the Sadat Gaya-coached side as they had already been worked on by the Pharaohs in the first two quarters.

Uganda-based Kennedy Wachira was Kenya’s best performer with a game-high 11 points and five rebounds.

Against Senegal, the Morans were slightly improved but still lost 86-54. They had started well with a 20-19 score at the end of the first quarter, but the fight quickly fizzled out with the Senegalese taking crisp control of the rest of the match.

Kenya Morans players listen to coach Sadat Gaya. PHOTO/FIBA

Joel Awich carded a double-double score with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Wachira accounted for 10 points for the Morans.

While hopes of a national basketball revolution rose after the team won the FIBA Afrocan in 2019, the dreams have quickly fizzled out once again and will need resuscitation to take the game back enroute to the top.

Meanwhile, South Sudan who Kenya beat in the pre-qualifiers are now the talk of African basketball circles.

The South Sudanese, under the tutelage of former NBA star Luol Deng have won all their six matches in Group B and are through to the final qualification round with a dream place in the World Cup on their doorstep.

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