Basketball Deaf team players train at Kasarani indoor Arena on Tuesday ahead of the 1st Africa Deaf Championship to be held in Nairobi Kenya on September 11-25, 2021. Photo/ Courtesy Deafympics

National women’s deaf basketball team coach Carolyne Ouma has decried lack of sufficient training facilities for the team ahead of the African Deaflympics Qualifiers in Nairobi.

Though Kenya has been considered as one of the favourites in the upcoming tournament to be held at Kasarani and Nyayo Stadium between September 11 and 25, the tactician feels the inability to access a full court during training can work against them.

The top two teams in the continental tournament that has attracted a total number of 16 teams will book a ticket to the 24th Summer Deaflympics in Brazil next year.

Unlike their opponents, the national team has been forced to share the Kasarani Indoor Gymnasium court with their men’s counterparts for almost two weeks now.

“There is no pressure at all. The only thing that is working to our disadvantage is the court. We really need to train on a full court, but we are currently restricted to share one court with the men’s team. The girls are in high spirits but unfortunately we don’t have full advantage of our home court,” said Ouma

“In terms of preparation, we are not yet there, but I think they are training well and they are improving day after day. They are picking up the shape well and their skills level is also improving. We are trying to sychronise everything.

“We hope to play and win. We are not training to lose. It is not going to happen. We have pride at stake and as Kenyans we are going to fight it out to the end. So, we are ready for whichever team is coming.”

But the tactician is also wary of the threat posed by neighbouring Uganda.

“We expect to get strong challenge from Uganda and maybe Zimbabwe. But we are up to the task,” she said.

For captain Mercy Mideva, lack of adequate training facilities remain one of their biggest challenges.

“The training is going on well. But the biggest challenge right now is sharing the court with the men’s team. All the same we are doing our best to prepare for the championship. We want to send a statement to the continent by winning the championship,” said Mideva.

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