NAIROBI – What exactly should Africa City Challenge fans make of the Finals match-up between the Nairobi Morans and Kampala Red Stars?
Morans beat pre- game favorites Red Stars in the first game winning 59-55 in a close encounter on Tuesday night. After the win Morans appeared to have overcome their deadliest hurdle. The Red Stars, however, flipped that script by returning to the court the next day and convincingly beat crowd favorites Mogadishu City. This was the Red Stars at its very best, a one-two punch that’s good enough to knock out any contender.
Can the Morans put together one dominant—or at least competent—in front of their fans and run away with the $ 6,000 prize money?
The answer is yes.
That said it’s tough to rule out Kampala, yes I say TOUGH! Kampala was sharp against Mogadishu or was it a sending warning shots to the Morans? Well we will find out at 10 pm tonight at the Nyayo gymnasium.
After outscoring Kampala 19-09 the Morans struggled to get their offense rolling scoring only 5 points in the second period and Kampala took a comfortable 32-24 lead at half time. Tom Wamukota’s presence in the paint will be key and that will open outside play for Griffin Ligare, Evans Leting, James Mwangi and Alex Ramazani. More importantly, though, Wamukota has been a difference-maker on the defensive end. Beyond his blocked shots, he’s altered others and generally served as a deterrent in the paint while Arou Ramadan has to continue hustling his rear end off to get some easy points by crashing the offensive glass.
Coaches Ben Oluoch and Bosire Bogonko would obviously love for their team to channel its inner terminator by clicking on all cylinders offensively tonight. Still, even an average performance on the offensive end would put the Morans in a favorable position to win, there’s little doubt Morans overall defensive effort has been much-improved.
Kampala blew hot and cold in the Morans game, star point guard Jimmy Enabu didn’t do much on offense apart from distributing the ball and not making himself an option. Kampala just has to keep playing its game. With Michael Makiadi, Sudi Ulanga, Steve Omony, Mark Opio and others, the Red Stars have a plethora of weapons who can reach double-digit points and run up the score in a hurry. They racked up 19 assists against Mogadishu City. That’s a testament to their unselfishness and overall team attitude.
In the end, all signs are pointing to the final being the closest game of the tournament. Both sides had ample opportunity to make adjustments and will be awfully hungry for a win. Who doesn’t want to go home $ 6,000 richer?