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Kenya to miss out in basketball at Africa Youth Games

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s basketball team has been locked out of the Africa Youth Games, which will take place in Algiers, Algeria in July.

The continent’s basketball governing body FIBA Africa said Kenya lacks a vibrant and sustainable three-aside basketball league and will not be considered for the competition, an elementary event for young players starting their careers in the sport.

Instead, only Uganda and Egypt will represent Africa Zone Five at the Africa Youth Games, which runs from July 19-28 in the Algerian capital.

Olivier Kambire, the FIBA Africa Digital Coordinator in a letter to Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Secretary General Vitalis Gode, said Kenya does not qualify to enter a team in the games, because it lacks running league in three by three basketball.

Kenya last competed at the Youth Games in Botswana in 2014, where they reached the quarterfinals.

“It is sad that our young players will miss the opportunity to participate at a high profile championship due to our own negligence,” said KBF deputy secretary general Ambrose Kisoi.

This year’s competition will mark the third edition of the African Youth Games after Morocco (2010) and Botswana (2014).

Organizers have confirmed that all the 54 countries will be invited to the Games, with two athletes from each nation sponsored to compete in the Games.

Qualified players must have been born between January 2000 to December 2003. The African Youth Games will serve as continental qualifier for the Olympic Youth Games in Buenos Aires in October.

In rugby sevens, 22 teams and more than 300 players across the continent will represent their countries at the Games.

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) director of rugby Thomas Odundo says the young team has gained experience and grown in strength and hope to take the game to their rivals in Algiers.

During the last competition in 2014, the Kenya Sevens team claimed a silver medal in the rugby sevens competition after having been whitewashed by South Africa 60-0 in the gold medal match. Zimbabwe claimed the bronze medal.

“Most of the targeted players are still in school because the games are open to only those below 18 years. But we will secure the best talent to show to the world,” said Odundo.

The African Youth Games will serve as continental qualifier for rugby at the Olympic Youth Games in Buenos Aires where only the winner will qualify to join hosts Argentina, Japan, USA, Australia and France in the finals.

Rugby Africa President Abdelaziz Bougja has since said the continent has gained tremendously in the sport and was encouraged by the popularity of rugby at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.



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