Moses Wanjara carved out a niche for himself in the Kenya Basketball Premier League straight out of high school as a power forward when he joined champions KCB Lions from Maseno School. After KCB withdrew it’s basketball sponsorship Moses decided to stick with the team but it wasn’t all rosy as the former champions fell from grace to grass. “Brotherhood kept us going” he said but not for long as he eventually joined KPA leading the team to another premier league title.
Out of basketball Moses is very vocal when it comes to politics. We sat him down and he opened up on where he started and how politics is a part of his life.
Where did you grow up?
Which school did you go to?
Your brother Ben Wanjara played for Posta, did he in any way influence you to play basketball?
Yes he did. He bought me my first basket ball when I was 8 years old and for sure he has been instrumental in my basketball career.
Tell us about some of the players you were with in High School.
I played with JP who is currently a coach in the US, Antony Abinadam a man of few words but always led us to championships, Captain Tiberius Menya made it all happen for Maseno basketball team. Always a top notch player, Vincent Juma a.k.a Big baby intimidated high school boys with his height. Sammy Opel balling in Canada. Dr. George Omenda the academic captain was a perfect example of a student athlete who would top in his class and also carry the basketball team on his shoulders.
Are you guys still friends?
I must say that we are really good friends. We check on each other more often.
Maseno is no longer a basketball power house, as an alumni how does that make you feel?
Its so disheartening because Mr. Paul Otula gave a number of young blood a chance in Maseno to use basketball as a stepping stone in life and to see Maseno basketball go down is a minus to Kenya basketball. Look at Bush, JP, Collins Onyando, James Wanjara, Ronnie Gundo all products of Maseno School. We will be back.
Was your switch to club basketball after high school easy?
It was not easy at all. Being a student and playing for a club where money is involved can make you stray if you choose ‘good life.’ I can count the number of games I played in 2011 with KCB Lions, maybe four the entire season. 5 minutes maximum. But being on the bench prepared me mentally and made me grow. It’s part of growth in basketball and should not be skipped. Playing for KCB Lions was a different ball game all together.
Tell us about your early years at KCB Lions.
Joined KCB in 2011 where I was the youngest kid in the club with a lot of expectations. Being a championship team we worked harder everyday and I learned a lot under Coach Francis Ngunjiri. He was full of wisdom and encouragement and by 2013 I was a starter with the same players on the roster since 2011.
Lions sponsorship by KCB was withdrawn but you still remained in the team was that an easy decision?
Brotherhood held us together. No one was ready to move to another team.
How was life without sponsorship what kept the team going?
Brotherhood kept the team going. I’m yet to see a team with brotherhood like KCB Lions. Life without sponsorship is not easy. You have to pay for the training ground, buy kits e.t.c It’s demanding in short.
You moved to KPA and you are now a champion tell us about the 2016 season.
When the Team Manager Magic recruited me I knew it wasn’t going to be easy because I needed to work hard for my playing time. I moved to KPA knowing that that’s the team that I could win a championship with at the moment. 2016 season was full of ups and downs and we were almost giving up until we won a game against Ulinzi who the previous weekend defeated Equity with more than 100 points. That gave us hope. Then came the Arou and Bosire factor in the play offs. Trophy was all we were thinking of.
You finished in the last playoffs spot, how was Arou and Bosire’s come back crucial to the title chase?
It was awesome having the USIU boys back to the roster when it mattered most. We were crippled without them and they came back with a loud bang. It affected other teams mentally. For us it was a motivation.
You are going to zone 5 early next month, what are KPA’s chances of winning the title?
9/10.We will win the championship. You can take that to the bank. Players are ready and we have what it takes. Experienced players like the two MVP’s Odendo and Tobias will lead us to Canaan.
How important is Tom Wamukota’s addition to the team?
Tom being 7’1 will really intimidate our opponents. You can’t buy height and with the experience from NCAA we are good to go.
How do you manage to keep fit yet your team doesn’t have a training program?
We do have a training program which guides us on what to do every week. I make sure I train four times a week. I take my laps seriously.
People consider you a dirty player, what’s your take on this?
There is a difference between playing dirty and being aggressive. The moment I step into the court I want to cause consternation. Leading to the opponents’ confusion. I don’t like it when my man is comfortable. I’m clean like Draymond Green.
Who is that one player you would love to play with some day?
William Ochieng of Ulinzi.
Which team do you enjoying playing against in the league?
Ulinzi Warriors any day. That is always the best date ever!
Do you think Kenyan referees are doing a good job?
Yes. Commendable job. I call it volunteer job.
Out of basketball you are very vocal when it comes to politics, we all thought you would be vying for a seat in August what happened?
I was to be on the ballot but after consultation with my party leaders I stepped down for my current member of county assembly. All is not lost though.
Do you see yourself vying for a KBF elective post some day?
I will vie for a KBF post come next election.
What is that one thing we need to do to get our glory days back to basketball?
I’m a marketer by profession. All we need to do is to brand the game of basketball and sell it to the corporates. Basketball should pay players bills if taken seriously. Gone are the days when people used to play for the love of the game. It’s called ROI.
If you were the KBF chairman for a day, what will you do differently?
Introduce Friday and Saturday night games.
Who will win the ladies Premier league this season?
KPA team with coach Ojukwu on the bench.
Will KPA win the league two years in a row?
Yes so long as the ‘me’ factor is eliminated and role playing takes place. KPA is a big team, says Coach Kiki.