Betty Kananu may seem like an overnight success but you will be surprised at how hard she works on her game. Just a few years after joining the national league she has played in international tournaments and currently holds the title for the Most Defensive Player in the Kenya Basketball Women Premier League. In every team she leaves a mark, and as a young player serves as a great example of talent and hard work. She opens up on where she started, her journey and successes so far.
Who introduced you to basketball and how was the journey?
I was introduced to basketball in high school by Rachel Makena who was my coach then. She currently plays for Gladiators. The journey has been interesting and hard at the same time.
Did you think you would be this big?
No. When I started it was just for fun since I played handball and was really good at it but coach Rachel wouldn’t let me leave. I never thought I would be a good player.
Why do you think not so many people from your region play basketball?
There is very little knowledge about basketball there and the courts are very few so as people grow up basketball is not familiar to them.
How was it playing for K.U and thereafter Masaku?
Playing for KU was so much fun as I was still growing in the game and with my coaches Martin Muindy and John Waringo it was easy because I had all the time to train. Playing for Masaku was challenging at first because it was a different kind of basketball but I later adapted and it was fun being in the team.
Why did you leave Masaku?
I left because I believe KPA was a better opportunity for me. I would get better experience and the chance to play internationally.
2 years after leaving Masaku you have played in international games. How was the experience?
The experience was amazing and challenging. You get to see what is expected of you and also motivates you to be better.
How does it feel playing in a team that has a lot of talent?
It is challenging but still good because you get to play with the best and improve your game too.
Why has KPA recently fallen short of the title yet it has everything?
We have our downfalls, hoping to work on them this season.
You hold the title for the Most Defensive Player. What are you eyeing next?
It feels good and humbling being the MDP. I’m eyeing the MVP title this season.
Considering you are not based in Mombasa, what’s your training schedule like?
I have my training at Kenya Methodist University (KEMU). I train with the team there mostly, and also do some personal workouts. I train Monday, Wednesday and Friday, two sessions a day.
Do you go to the gym/lift weights? What do you think of the perception that being athletic is not being as feminine?
I rarely do. It is a bad perception because being athletic is so feminine.
Who are your two favourite coaches and why?
Antony Ojukwu and Abel Nson. They are the kind of coaches who believe in what you have and want you to become better.
Who are your mentors in basketball?
Griffin Ligare and Silalei Shani. I like how dedicated they are to being better.
What role do players have in increasing basketball viewership/game attendance?
Inviting friends, spreading the word about the game, being better role models. Working out diligently hence elevating their level of play which in turn will attract fans because the level of play will be higher. Doing more CSR out there and touch lives of kids that can become fans.
Besides basketball, are your pursuing any career?
I am a Human Resource Personnel professionally.