Kenya fall to Rwanda in Zone Five qualifiers

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By Erick Ochieng’

The national women’s basketball team lost 61-52 to Rwanda in Africa Zone Five qualifiers match in Kigali, Rwanda.

Kenyans edged out Burundi 68-66 in their opening match but had trouble against the hosts.

Kenya’s Hilda Indasi scored a game-high 23 points while Samba Mjomba contributed 11 to the tally as Mahoro Mentika and Iyabera Komore scored 18 and 17 points for the hosts.

Cheered on by a capacity crowd, Rwanda took a commanding 17-7 lead at the end of the first period but Kenya took charge in the next quarter before the home team led 25-22 at half time.

Kenya fought gallantly to win the third quarter 18-12. However, Rwanda bounced back with quick points from Mentika and Komore to take the last quarter 24-12 and seal the match for their second victory.

Most Points

Mjomba, who had contributed most points (20) for Kenya in the match they won 68-66 against Burundi, and Indasi displayed purposeful play, but were kept at bay by the Rwandese.

According to coach Anthony Ojukwu, the duo’s partnership forward saw Kenya rake in points but their efforts fizzled out in the last quarter.

“We won the second and third quarters. Our girls failed to keep up with the pace of the Rwandese in the last session, which we lost by 12 points,” said Ojukwu, who handles the men’s team.

“We were poised to win the match but laxity among our guards cost us the victory,” he told FeverPitch on telephone from Kigali yesterday.

Kenya face Uganda in both the men’s and women’s encounters today in the event being played on a round robin basis. The men’s team need to win the match to harbour hopes of going for the Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Libya in August.

The top two men’s sides travel to Libya in August, with women’s finalists going for the same tournament in Mauritius one month later.

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