NAIROBI – The Kampala Red Stars must have forgotten they had an important final game against the Nairobi Morans Friday night.
Because they didn’t show up to play.
The Morans came out with all guns blazing in the first period, which set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Nairobi absolutely humiliated the Red Stars with a 71-49 victory at Nyayo Gymnasium behind its typical end-to-end team play fulfilling its promise of winning the inaugural Africa City Challenge Tournament. The conquest came on the heels of an impressive unbeaten run in the tournament.
Africa City Challenge MVP Tom Wamukota paced Morans with superb dominance in the paint and leadership in the win, finishing with 20 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and two steals. Victor Odendo who finished the game with 9 points had a solid first period that put Morans in control.
In the beginning, a lot of Kampala’s issues were self-inflicted. The Red Stars missed open looks from the floor and were continuously limited to one shot with the Morans hitting the defensive glass hard. Morans led 20-11 in the first period, and never looked back in a game that the Red Stars trailed from tip off to the last buzzer. A solid team display, with Wamukota, Griffin Ligare, Odendo, Joseph Khaemba and Arou Ramadan at the helm, saw Morans hold a 10 point lead at the half time break.
It wasn’t long before Nairobi took its first 20-point lead of the night. A 12-0 run to begin the third period was capped off by a tremendous contribution from players who came off the bench led by James Mwangi, Kevin Kigotho, Alex Ramazani, Job Byron and Evans Letting.
Steve Omony and Jimmy Enabu showed some signs of life for the Stars towards the end of the third, though it was a case of too little too late, even the elbow on Ligare who had 14 points by Ivan Lumanyika that sent the Kenyan shooting guard to hospital never slowed the Morans down. It was hard to say for sure whether Nairobi’s defense was really that good or if the Kampala Red Stars were simply just that bad. In truth, it was probably a combination of the two, and Nairobi rode the wave to a 60-33 third period lead.
Kampala won the last quarter 16-11 but it wasn’t enough as Nairobi Morans walked away with the $ 6,000 prize money.
Earlier on Mogadishu cruised past Mombasa City 92-76 in the 3rd and 4th playoff game.