Champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) need two more quality guards to mount a successful defence of their title, according to coach Sammy Kiki.
“I lost many key players who played a major role in last year’s title winning team. I am rebuilding the side which means bringing in an equal number of new players, if not more. The way they are playing shows we will be there. It will be gradual and I can see it’s now taking shape.”
The porters, playing only their first game out on Mombasa, walloped United States International University (USIU) Tigers 74-47 at the Nyayo Stadium gymnasium. They have lost one match at home to Thunder. Center Ariel Okal who returned home after a professional stint in Dhofar, Oman was key.
“I missed the services of injured guard Victor Odendo and forward Martin Kitongo, who lost his brother but the boys played really well. The team chemistry is building and I am sure that before the end of the first leg, we will be there eventually,” he said
Cliff Owuor, the Tigers coach blamed the loss on lack of activity.
“We were playing our first game after being out action for weeks. It showed straight from tip-off that we could not match KPA. My low post players succumbed easily and we had no coordination at all. There was also elements of fear in them but we will continue working hard.
Strathmore University Blades recovered from their sad loss to Umoja last week to cut World Hope 54-51 but it was not an easy fixture for them. Peter Shilton managed 22 points and Cliff Alele added 11 for the students. Conrad Wafula scored 14 for the losers who were ahead 29-20 at the break.
KPA women suffered a humiliating 55-52 loss at the hands of Storms who posed all sorts of problem pegging the former champions down for long spells. A happy Coach Abel said: “We are trying. The girls can now take on and beat anyone. This shows a sign of serious training. We will be a lot sharper when the second leg starts.”
Unbeaten Strathmore University Swords had 21 points from Clara Rotich as they ravaged Africa Nazarene University (ANU) 69-42. The losers, down 43-18 at the breather had 10 from Anne Akinyi.
Teresa Ekise buried 23 points as Kenyatta University Oryx dismissed Tangit Sparks 64-57. The winners trailed 31-25 at the break and pulled all string to emerge winners in the end against the inconsistent Sparks.
In the lower division, Little prince beat Mount Kenya University “THika” 54-40, Lions won 46-37 over Strathmore University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) were crushed 56-30 by Strathmore University in the ladies tie.