The Kenya Basketball Federation President Paul Otula on Tuesday met with German former professional basketball player and a special advisor for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Dirk Nowitzki at the FIBA World Congress in Manilla,Philippines.
The duo who form an integral part of the sport in their respective countries engaged in areas of development of Basketball in Kenya,equipment and technical assistance in a move aimed at enabling the East African nation to lay in place proper mechanisms geared towards enriching the growth of the game amongst the local youth.
According to Nowitzki,Basketball in Kenya has come a long way since its budding years in the 70’s and 80’s and arguably its golden era in the 90’s when both the men’s and ladies’ national teams were considered regional and continental powerhouses.
“It is easily the fastest growing sport in the country, thanks in part to the globalization of the NBA product, the trendiness of the sport among the youth and the success of a variety of programs to popularize the sport especially in the rural and smaller urban areas. I will continue working with all the stakeholders of the game led by KBF Supremo Paul Otula to make Kenya a powerhouse of the sport not only in Africa but also beyond” he said
The Congress is happening concurrently with the FIBA World Cup being hosted by multiple nations for the first time in its history—the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
Otula who lauded the performance of African teams so far remains optimistic that Kenya Morans will one day qualify to the global body and stage heroic show against some of the world’s best.
It was a double-dose of history for African basketball: South Sudan beat China 89-69 at Manila and Cape Verde beat Venezuela 81-75 at Okinawa, Japan. The wins kept both teams in contention for berths in the second round of the World Cup, and they remain very much in the race to become Africa’s automatic qualifier for next summer’s Paris Olympics.
Both South Sudan and Cape Verde have one game left in group-stage play — South Sudan plays Serbia on Wednesday, while Cape Verde will take on Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Slovenia.
The top-ranked African team at this World Cup will automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics; so far, South Sudan, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast and Angola all have 1-1 records in the race for that berth.
“African Basketball is tremendously growing and I’m impressed with our boys from South Sudan and Cape Verde over their performance so far and this is something Kenya Morans can do better if we plan ourselves well.With the new government led by our Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba who prioritise heavy investment in the game,we can make it next time should we start the preparations as early as now.The talent is massively there all we need is timely organisation” remarked Otula,a respected educationist, sports personality, coach and administrator who has taken his management prowess to the sports and transformed the discipline as one of the top notch fields in the country.
The 2023 FIBA World Cup is co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia – the first time multiple nations have hosted the event.
While it is Indonesia’s first time hosting the event in any form, it is also the first time in World Cup history that the hosts failed to qualify.
The FIBA World Cup runs until September 10