Kisumu Lakeside daring to dream despite turbulent season

Kisumu Lakeside daring to dream despite turbulent season

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Premier League side Kisumu Lakeside’s new tactician Dismas Oketch faces a tall order of turning around the struggling side’s fortunes  if they are to realise a playoff slot.

Their weekend exploits showed glimpses of what his new side is capable of achieving after they won their second game of the season beating Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA)68-47 on Saturday before being blown away by Kenyatta University (KU) Pirates 63-32  and University of Nairobi (UON) Terror 77-45.

Perhaps this was a reflection of the mountain that Oketch has to climb to streamline their season if they are to secure a playoff berth.

Before the weekend action, they were ranked second last in the division but the four points they gained in their trip gives them a welcome boost in their hunt for a playoff slot with 12 games to go.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Lakeside team captain Basil Ogembo observed that the team is on the right trajectory while insisting that they have what it takes to push for a finals berth.

“We have done well so far this season given the kind of challenges that we have had to overcome so far.

“First of all, we are the only self-sponsored team in the Premier League meaning we have to make do with the little resources available to honor our fixtures. As an instance, we have to play back-to-back games whenever we are away from home to minimize the expenditure.

“We joined the league three seasons ago and according to our plan, we should be pushing for a finals berth this season given the players that we have,” he observed.

To achieve their ambitions, they will have to work on team chemistry, endurance, and work rate, the fundamentals that were apparently in short supply on Sunday as they capitulated against their evidently sharper opponents.

Ogembo attributes their season struggles to interruptions in the league by government restrictions owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlike many of the participants in the league, they had to endure a month-long ban on all sports activities in the Nyanza and western counties, an element he says derailed their momentum.

“I believe that was a huge blow to our prospects as we had to stay indoors for a whole month while the rest of the teams in the league were training and playing. So in this respect, we missed the invaluable experience.

“We are working on how we can catch up with the rest and I’m sure we will be at par with them by the end of the regular season.

The menace of inadequate sports facilities has been a major stumbling block for the development of sports in the country an element he reckons will prevent the country from realizing its true potential.

“I would love to have a scenario where all parts of the country are equipped with state-of-the-art sports facilities to help develop careers in different sports.

“For instance, it is a shame that KBF league matches are mostly played in facilities that belong to academic institutions which does not reflect well on how we as a country have embraced the development of the game.

“Nyayo gymnasium is limited in terms of space and Kasarani is often unavailable because of the huge cost implications.

Regarding the national men’s basketball team, the Morans participation in this year’s FIBA AfroBasket Championships in Kigali Rwanda, Ogembo is confident Kenya will excel given the blend of local and international talent, and has urged them to seek inspiration from their unprecedented run to the FIBA AfroCan finals two years ago.

With Kenya ranked as the third-last team amongst this edition’s participants, Ogembo does not seem scared of Kenya’s superior opponents on paper.

“We are going back to the continental championships after a thirty-year absence but I’m confident we will go there to challenge.

“The preparations have been excellent and you can see from the way we played against Senegal who are the fourth-best team in Africa. Let’s all rally behind them and optimistic they will have a good run.”

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