Lakeside, Lady Bucks upbeat ahead of KBF Jamhuri Day tournament

Lakesides Trevor Gari (left) in action against Strathmore University’s Ariel Ortega during 2019 Biro Lich Basketball tournament in Kisumu. [Washington Onyango,Standard]

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Premier League sides Lakeside and Lady Bucks are confident of registering positive results when the Jamhuri Day basketball tournament kicks off on Saturday.

The two-day tournament, which has been organized by KBF, will be played at Magadi and Manyatta Arabs Primary Schools in Kisumu with participants out to shake off the coronavirus blues.

The competition secretary Joseph Amoko said they organized the tourney to help teams prepare for the new season primed to tip off early next year.

The league was primed to tip off in March this year but the plans were thrown into the backburner due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The tournament will provide a massive shot on the arm for the teams with a return to top-flight basketball edging closer. It will be a big boost for teams for they have been out of action the whole year without training.”

“The teams will also be able to know the fitness of their players and also a good platform to scout for new players,” said Amoko.

Premier League sides Lakeside, KPA, Lady Bucks are among the top teams that have confirmed participation where Lakeside assistant head coach Oliver Nyawanda is optimistic of finishing top.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic disrupting sporting activities for months, Nyawanda said they will be taking the tournament serious with an aim of getting better before the league kick off next year.

Lakeside, Lady Bucks upbeat ahead of KBF Jamhuri Day tournament

Lady Bucks’s Dranny Futo in action against Migori’s Davine Auma. [Washington Onyango,Standard]

“We will be using the tournament as a catalyst to the premier league season set to start in January. We know it wont be easy with majority of players affected in different ways because of the pandemic but we will push through the hurdles and aim higher,” Nyawanda said.

Lady Bucks head coach Dave Michaels on his side said he has lost almost ten players in transfers and family matters and they will be using the tournament to recruit new players ahead of the new season.

“It is hard for us considering a stellar season we had in the Division One last year with the full team but we have to push and create a team ready for the premier league. The pandemic affected our team greatly but we want to use this tourney to start rebuilding,” he said.

Other teams expected at the tournament include Embiva Basetball Club, Embakasi basketball, Eldonets and many more expected to register on Saturday morning.

The federation has set the month of January next year as the action-return date for the National League season.

Ulinzi Warriors and Equity Bank are the men’s and women’s Kenya’s basketball premier league defending champions respectively after triumphing in 2019.

Only the national men’s basketball team, Morans, was involved in action this year after participating in Afrobasket qualifiers’ first leg championship held in Kigali, Rwanda.

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