NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenya’s Nairobi Morans electrified a fully packed Nyayo Gymnasium by beating neighbours Kampala Red Stars 71-49 in the finals of the Africa City Challenge on Friday night.
In doing so, the Kenyan representatives took home KSh620,000 as curtains came down after five days of high end basketball.
The tournament saw teams drawn from East African cities of Nairobi, Mogadishu (Somalia), Juba (South Sudan), Kampala (Uganda), Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) converge at the Kenyan capital.
The decider was a straight forward affair for the Ben Oluoch coached side, unlike the keenly contested group stage encounter where Moran edged Red Stars 59-55 on Tuesday.
Oluoch, was left celebrating having managed to beat a strong side twice in the same tournament.
“This is a huge motivation not just for us but for the national team as well. Even in the national team, we have never beaten Uganda for a long time and they are ranked higher than us,” the jubilant Olouch said after leading his charges to victory.
“The win on Tuesday helped to boost our morale. We lost very many second chance shots but we will have to work on that,” he added.
Juruni Mandy, the Kampala head coach was far from impressed admitting they simply never turned up for the final in huge contrast from their group phase match he believed they did not deserve.
“It took us a while to start playing. By then the match was already lost,” a dejected Mandy who had promised his side would come out blazing in the finals rued.
“We did not play our game. The players were confident of winning and that turned into panic which cost us. The strategy is to bring the A-Game if we are to be champions,” the tactician stated.
The road to the finals saw Kampala beat Mogadishu City 77-45. It was expected to be a tight game owing to beaten side’s performance in previous games but Kampala ran the rule.
Mombasa lost to Mogadishu 73-96 in the third and fourth ranking game whilst Dar-es-Salaam’s Dream Team had earlier finished fifth after beating Juba Bright Stars 82-76.
The losing finalists took home Ksh300,000 with the third-placed team pocketing Ksh150,000.