Weekly Updates

Zone 5 Weekly Review: 16/01/2024

Your Weekly Dose of FIBA Africa Zone 5 News: The festivities are over, and it is back to business as usual as the league in Zone Five returns while teams prepare for national duty, especially the men’s AfroBasket qualifiers.

Published on

January 23, 2024

Last Updated on

January 23, 2024

Kendi Mwiti

Kendi Mwiti

Staff Writer

Zone 5 Weekly: 16/01/2024


Ugandan League Action

Top-tier league

The 2024 season gets underway in about a week, and teams are in the race to bolster their squads ahead of the new season set to tip off on Friday 26 January.

Basketball Africa League (BAL)-bound City Oilers begin their chase for a record-extending tenth title without the services of coach Mandy Juruni who has since ditched the side for Rwandese side Kepler University.

Taking up his role is his former assistant Andrew Tendo who was announced on 22 December and has big shoes to fill as Juruni has led Oilers to nine consecutive titles. Talk about dominating! Tendo will be assisted by Ten-time league champion and legend Ben Komakech.

Uganda Silverbacks

The national team will face familiar opponents Cape Verde and Nigeria in Group B of the men’s AfroBasket qualifiers. The fourth team of the group will come from the zonal qualifiers of Zone 1 and Zone 2. Uganda has previously faced Cape Verde in the qualifiers for the 2021 AfroBasket. The two nations then met in the quarterfinal of the final competition.


Top-tier league action

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) leagues return this weekend with exciting matches scheduled across different venues in the country.

The highlight matches of the weekend in both the men's and women’s top-tier leagues will see holders Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) who are playing catch-up after being away on international duty take on Equity Bank sides, Dumas and Hawks.

Coach Sammy Kiki’s KPA men are third on the log, having played nine matches, two less than runaway leaders, and the only undefeated side Nairobi City Thunder. Ulinzi Warriors are second with 19 points off 11 matches, having lost thrice. KPA have lost twice.

The dockers host a Dumas side that has also played nine matches for 15 points, losing three matches so far to place fourth on the log, a point behind the defending champions.

Meanwhile, the women’s battle between KPA and Hawks will be a repeat of the Africa Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) quarters match where KPA won 81-66. This, however, will be a different match as both sides had bolstered their squads for the AWBL.

Kenya Morans

The national men’s team, Kenya Morans’ 30-man provisional squad for the upcoming AfroBasket qualifiers was named last weekend with a new coach, Australian Grant Wallace announced as head coach and technical director with Cliff Owuor as coach.

"Coach Wallace will be joining the technical bench on a medium term contract from Australia. He will be in Kenya from February. We are looking to tap on his experience to bring diverse coaching styles, perspectives and valuable insights into global trends and competition," acting Secretary General (SG) Angela Luchivya wrote in her communique while introducing the tactician.

Captained by Equity Bank's Victor Bosire, the squad has more than 10 foreign-based players including the already-retired Tyler Ongwae who is currently playing in Germany.

The last time the 32-year-old small forward was named to the national team, ahead of the 2023 AfroCan, he did not honour the call-up. The squad has also seen the return of veteran Desmond Owili as the team's assistant captain.

The team is a mix of youth and experience with some new names introduced including Ambaka le Greham who moved from France to USA where he played junior high basketball Freedom Christian Academy in Fayetteville.

Also joining the team are David Gichuhi who is unattached, US-based Evans Ojwang and Jeff Onyango of Moischers, currently playing in division two.

The team begun training this week ahead of the 19 to 27 February Qualifiers where Kenya is in group E that has Tunisia, Angola and Guinea.


Makhtar Gueye

Dynamo Preparing for BAL Debut

Former COSPN (Madagascar) coach Julien Chaignot has joins Dynamo BBC as head coach ahead of the team's debut in the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Chaignot, led the new-look side to a fourth-place finish in the East Division Elite 16, missing out on a place in the fourth season of BAL set for March.

The club has also signed Makhtar Gueye, who has previously featured for Beira, ahead of their BAL run.


Top-tier League

Action for the 2024 season is still a long way off with tip-off slated for 9 February but there is a lot of movement as teams prepare for the new season.

The league will see the entry of one of the zone’s best coaches as the renowned Ugandan tactician Mandy Juruni, a 15-time league title winner in his country, joins Kepler who are making their debut in the top-tier league on a two-year contract.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) have also appointed Charles Mushumba as their new head coach on a three-year renewable contract, replacing the want-away American tactician Dean Murray who was at their helm in the past season.

The lower tier division will also have some exciting news as teams seek promotion, especially with the entry BK Arena brand ambassador, singer Itahiwacu Bruce, commonly known as Bruce Melodie as one of the financiers of local club United Generation, as reported by The New Times.

United Generation have completed the signing of Yannick Byiringiro and Jean Marie Rukerimbere, crossing over from local side Tigers BBC.

Legacy Tournament 2024 Attracts Big Teams

BAL-bound Uganda’s City Oilers, Rwanda’s APR, and Burundi’s Dynamo have confirmed their participation in the fourth edition of Legacy Tournament 2024 taking place from January 25-27.

Organised by United Generation Basketball (UGB) in partnership with the local basketball governing body (FERWABA), Legacy Tournament has been taking place annually since 2018, intending to honour club founders Championat Aimable and Jean De Dieu Nizeyimana who pioneered the team’s legacy of promoting, developing and empowering future leaders and athletes through the game of basketball.


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