Nairobi impress, but Mogadishu favourites in Africa Cities Cup

Nairobi Morans sailed into the semi-final of the inaugural basketball Africa Cities Challenge Cup after beating Kampala Red Stars 59-55 at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium on Tuesday night.

Nairobi Morans, spearheaded by Co-op Bank’s Joseph Khaemba, Victor Odendo, Evans Leting and Aroun Ramadhan (KPA) emerged top in Group A of three teams with four points.

Nairobi had earlier beaten Dar es Salaam City 87-71 and were due to meet Group B runner-up Mombasa in the first semi-final on Wednesday.

Mombasa, had registered a 69-66 win over Sudan’s Juba in their opener before losing 62-83 to well-oiled Somalia’s Mogadishu.

Hosts Nairobi had Thunders’ shooting guard Griffins Ligare, Alex Ramazani and Kevin Kigotho, who turn out for Premier League side USIU-A Tigers calling the early shots as they raced a 19-9 first quarter lead.

Uganda’s Kampala City, who were fielding two Kenyans Brian Namake and Philip Ameny, had a bad start.

Nairobi, looked favourites outscoring their opponents 9-0 for a 9-2 run before Kampala ambushed them in the second quarter. Kampala hit hard Nairobi 23-5 in the second quarter to lead 32-24 at the break.

It was in the last two quarters that Nairobi stamped their authority to outscore Kampala 14-8 and 21-15 to carry the day. Guard Ligare lifted Nairobi Morans scoring 23 points while Kampala replied with 16 points through Mark Opio.

In another match, Mogadishu powered their way into the semi-final after registering a 87-68 win over Sudan’s Juba. Mogadishu had made a flying start with a comfortable 83-62 victory over Mombasa.

Two consecutive victories guaranteed Mogadishu a place in the semi-final where they were to take on Kampala at 8pm.

Juba and Dar es Salaam lost all their two matches and were to face-off in the fifth and sixth position play-off match.

This article was originally published in The Nation

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