Morans 3×3 team charged up to battle for historic Olympic qualification

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – The Kenya Morans 3×3 basketball team is charged up to battle for a slot in the Olympics as they prepare for the Africa Cup in Cairo, a tournaments that act as a qualifier for the Games in Paris next year.

Team captain Ariel Ortega says the boys are pumped up to ensure they give their best and win the tournament, to take themselves to the Universality One final qualification tournament next year.

“This is really massive because Kenyan basketball has never been at the Olympics and we are looking to become the first team to put Kenya into the Olympic stage. It is a big deal for us and guys are really pumped up and ready to go,” said Ortega, who plays for national league top side Thunder.

Coach Zaddock Adika has named a strong team that will also include USA based Albert Odero, and the team says his addition will be a key factor in their hunt to win the title in Cairo. Also making the team is Equity’s shooting guard Victor ‘Electric’ Ochieng and Thunder’s forward Faheem Juma, who was also part of Kenya’s team at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Ready to battle 

Kenya's 3x3 head coach Zaddock Adika. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Kenya’s 3×3 head coach Zaddock Adika. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“The team is ready. We have been training for almost three months now and we have covered quite a lot. We had film sessions where we analyzed our opponents and we also worked on our plays to ensure everything works well,” Ortega added.

Kenya, ranked fifth in Africa, has been drawn into the same pool with defending champions Madagascar, and will also face Morocco, Mali and Benin, whom they open their tournament against on Friday.

Coach Adika believes the team is ready and their primary target is to earn top spot in the group so as to qualify for the semi-finals direct.

“We have had quite a good period of training and we are ready. The addition of Odero has really helped us because he brings in a lot of experience. We know we will face tough opponents but looking at how we have prepared, we should be able to win all our group stage games and make the semis,” the coach said.

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