06 - 20
August 2016
New Zealand coach Kennedy Kereama
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Tall Ferns coach Kereama handed Sunbury role

SUNBURY (2016 Rio Olympics) - In just several months, Kennedy Kereama will attempt to steer the New Zealand Tall Ferns into the Rio de Janeiro Games.

They will take part in a FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) for the second time in a row and hope for a better result this time because in 2012, a narrow defeat to Argentina eliminated them from contention for London.

New Zealand attempted to qualify directly this summer in the FIBA Oceania Championship but they lost both the home and away legs to Australia.

The coach of the Kiwis, Kereama will have his hands full with 11 other ambitious teams also at the WOQT.

While getting his homeland back to the Olympics for the first time since 2008 is a priority, Kereama also has something else to occupy this thoughts.

He has been installed as coach of the Sunbury Jets in the Big V.

"What struck the Board, possibly more than his resume, was Kennedy's ambition to work with us to deliver sustained improvement in our players, coaches and programs," said SBA President Glenn Ogston in a statement. 

Having coached Perth in the WNBL, Kereama is now in a state league.

Not only will he hold the reins of the women's team, but also serve as the club's director of coaching.

"It's a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to it," he said to FIBA.com.

"And it's flexible with regards to the Tall Ferns job."

Victoria has a reputation as being a hotbed of basketball in Australia.

Sunbury is about 40kilometers to the northwest of Melbourne.

Having also coached in Sandringham and Albury/Wodonga in the SEABL, Kereama knows the area well and was eager to return.

He will be a lot closer to New Zealand, too, than he was while coaching West Coast Waves in Perth, Western Australia.

There is also the added bonus that there are Tall Ferns who play in Victoria, which is historically regarded as the strongest basketball region Down Under.

The Sunbury job is a perfect opportunity for Kereama.

"I'm passionate about the development of people and basketball and I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with coaches and players and making a positive impact around the club," he said to the local media.

"I was starting to take time to think about the workforce within basketball and looking for a more stable role than just coaching teams in the WNBL, where you're always fighting for your job.

"The director of coaching role just made sense."

As for the WOQT and the future of the women's team, Kereama says there is a lot to like about New Zealand.

Kennedy Kereama (NZL) will coach Tall Ferns at WOQT

"We've got some kids out there that are playing big minutes and performing for large patches of the game," he said of the Oceania Championship games.

"It's a matter of them playing more basketball, more often for the New Zealand team."