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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Uganda women’s basketball team doubt-
ful for friendly match with Kenya 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — There is uncertainty over the availability of the Uganda women’s basketball team to play Kenya in a series of friendly matches in Nairobi.

Cameroon, another team slated to compete in the three-nation friendlies, have arrived in Nairobi and their men’s team will play their Kenyan counterparts late on Tuesday night with the match against Uganda scheduled for Saturday.

However, Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) treasurer Peter Orero was non-committal over the availability of the Uganda women’s team.

“Uganda are yet to confirm their participation,” said Orero. “However, Cameroon are here and ready to take on Kenya and we hope the players will gain more valuable experience and gauge their preparedness.”

The three teams are using the friendlies as part of their preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and Africa Championship.

Ariel Okall, captain of the Kenya women’s team, lamented the dwindling standards of the sport in the country, adding that they need to take the matches seriously in order to mount a strong challenge next year for the Africa Games in Morocco and the Africa Cup of Nations.

“The standard of the game is going down because we lack international matches as a national team. We have top players in foreign leagues, but as a national team we are very low [in the rankings]. We need more high profile opponents to help our players develop and in turn, improve our levels,” Okall said on Tuesday.

“We are not used to playing big games but I believe playing Cameroon will be a step in the right direction,” she added.

Okall said that a lack of good facilities had contributed to the poor performance by Kenyan teams on the international scene.

“Of course it is a big challenge for us. We have no stadium and the one we use is in poor condition. Basketball is an indoor game, but our league is sometimes played outdoors,” she said.

Nairobi will host the finals of the African Championship in March next year. This will also double up as part of the qualifier for the premier continental tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations.

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