Kenya, Mozambique clash for spot in AfroBasket quarters

Tuesday September 21 2021
Kenya's Christine Akinyi

Kenya's Christine Akinyi tires to get past a Cape Verde player during their Fiba AfroBasket Championship match in Yaounde on September 19, 2021. PHOTO | POOL | FIBA


Kenya will face Mozambique on Wednesday night for a spot in the quarterfinals against 11-time winners Senegal at the ongoing Fiba AfroBasket Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon. 

Africa Zone 5 champions Kenya finished second in Group “A” with three points after beating Cape Verde 61-58 and losing 74-50 against Cameroon, who also mauled the Islanders 71-40 on Monday.

Mozambique completed Group “B” at the bottom after suffering defeats at the hands of defending champions Nigeria (67-50) and two-time winners Angola (70-61).  

The first match of the qualifiers will pit Africa Zone 5 runners-up and 1977 silver medallists Egypt against two-time runners up Tunisia at 1pm EAT, followed by Angola versus Cape Verde (4pm), Ivory Coast against 1966 silver medallists Guinea (7pm) and finally Kenya against Mozambique at 10pm.

Group winners Cameroon (Group A), Nigeria (Group B), Senegal (Group C) and Mali (Group D) qualified automatically for the last eight.

The Kenya Lionesses had a two-day rest after completing their group matches on Sunday.


Asked whether the two-day break will affect their momentum they had started building after making a stunning comeback in their win against Cape Verde, coach George Mayienga said it wouldn't.

After a light training on Monday afternoon, the Lionesses watched the game between Cameroon and Cape Verde, which the hosts ran out comfortable winners to finish top of the pool.

“I believe the break is good and gives us time to rectify our mistakes when we go to the next stage, It also gives us good time to train and recover,” said former Kenyan international Angela Luchivya, who is also the Kenya Basketball Federation assistant secretary general.

If previous meetings and world rankings are anything to go by, then Kenya has a tough task on Wednesday night.

Kenya has no win against Mozambique in the two matches they have met at the AfroBasket. The East African side lost 98-67 in 1986 in Maputo and 55-39 in Dakar in 2019 in the group stages of the competition.

Mayienga’s charges are placed 71st in the Fiba rankings, while Mozambique is at 42.

Kenya will bank on Victoria Reynolds, Seline Okumu and Mercy Wanyama, who have so far impressed in the competition, to lead them against the Southern Africans.

The 12-nation biennial competition tipped off on September 18 and will climax on September 26 with the best two sides progressing to the 2022 Fiba World Cup qualifying tournament.