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Cliff Owuor returns as Kenya Morans head coach
NAIROBI (Kenya) - Cliff Owuor was named as the head coach of the Kenya Morans for the second time and revealed his immediate plans is to take the team to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Secretary Ambrose Kisoi, while announcing Owuor's return to the helm of the men's team in a release, also named a provisional squad of 20 players to start preparations.
"I AM COMING BACK TO FINISH THE JOB. IF I GET THE CALIBRE OF PLAYERS THAT I NEED FOR THE TASK AHEAD, THERE IS NO REASON WHY MORANS CANNOT MAKE IT TO THE WORLD CUP."
The immediate assignment for Owuor, who handles APR of Rwanda where he is also in his second stint, is the Group D World Cup Qualifiers that tips off next month in Dakar, Senegal.
The 47-year-old tactician was given the nod to replace Australian Liz Mills who handled the team to the ninth position in the FIBA AfroBasket championships in Kigali, Rwanda last August/September.
A beaming Owuor said from his base in Kigali that he is on a mission to complete the unfinished business and take Kenya to the top of the log in the continent.
"I am coming back to finish the job. If I get the calibre of players that I need for the task ahead, there is no reason why Morans cannot make it to the World Cup," Owuor told FIBA.basketball from Kigali.
Under Cliff Owuor Kenya finished second at 2019 FIBA AfroCan
Owuor has worked with the same players before and he knows them well. Most players have gained more experience over the years and are mature and much sharper since his last assignment with the side in 2020. He is convinced they can only get better.
He said he will hit the ground running and that the sky is the limit. The tactician made his debut with the team in 2019 and in his first assignment with the side won the FIBA Africa Zone Five crown in Kampala, Uganda. He iced it by beating Egypt for the first time in history.
His next tournament took him to Bamako, Mali, venue for the inaugural FIBA AfroCan Championship, and again his stars rose as he led Kenya to their first podium finish bagging silver losing only to DR Congo in the finals.
Preliminary Squad For The World Cup Qualifiers— Team Morans (@Teammorans) January 10, 2022
1: Tylor Ongwae- Bakkeb Bears Denmark ⁰2: Preston Bungei- Australia ⁰3: Griffin Ligare- Nairobi City Thunder ⁰4: Ariel Okall- Ahli Sidab Oman⁰5: Fidel Okoth- Ahli Sidab Oman⁰6: Desmond Owilli- Australia pic.twitter.com/IjGzk8zYpr
Owuor led the Kenya team in the first round of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket in Kigali, Rwanda. Morans lost 92-54 to Senegal, went down 83-66 to Angola but dismissed Mozambique 79-62 to have hopes of a return to the continental show in nearly three decades.
But before he could achieve that goal, he unceremoniously parted ways with the Federation and headed back to Rwanda. KBF immediately hired Mills who handled the team in the second round and the results in Yaounde, Cameroon remain historic.
Kenya shock one of the most decorated teams in the continent- Angola 74-73 to return to Africa's most prestigious tournament for the first time in 28 years.
Liz Mills' Kenya shocked Angola in the second round of the 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers
Now back to the fold for his second time with Morans , his focus remains Senegal, the venue for the three-day slated for the iconic Dakar Arena.
Kenya will open their Group D encounter against DR Congo on February 25 and tackle Egypt who named Canadian tactician Roy Rana as the head coach a few days ago.
Their final fixture on February 27 will be against the host and favourites Senegal, a team that has already beaten Kenya twice in their last two meetings. For Owuor redemption time is now.
The first window of World Cup African Qualifiers threw off in November in Benguela Angola, the top three teams from the four groups A, B, C and D will make it to the second round.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup will by co-hosted by Indonesia, Japan and Philippines