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Basketball in Kenya

Basketball has become Kenyas fastest growing sport. Teams from all over the country take part in the Kenya National League. The top teams are the Cooperative Bank, International Christian Centre, lava Warriors, KCB Lions, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenyatta University Pirates and Kisumu Lakers. Others are Lomboritz, Nakuru Basketball Club, Posta, Strathmore University, United States International University and the University of Nairobi Terrorists.

The early 1990s are considered the golden era of Kenyan basketball. In 1994, the women’s team shocked highly rated Zaire in the semi-final of the Africa Cup and made it to the finals to meet hosts Senegal. It thus qualified for the women’s world championship. That remains Kenya`s best performance.

In 1992, Kenya Ports Authority hosted the continental giants, Zamalek of Egypt, and won the match 90-87. In 1994, Kenya hosted the Africa basketball championships. The national team reached the semi—finals, including a 30-point win over Algeria.

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At the time, American college coaches recognised the local talent. Ren Wanjara, a talented player, secured a scholarship at George Mason University. Peter Kiganya was recruited by Abilene Christian University where he became a star of the Lone Star Conference. He is the only Kenyan who has succeeded in pursuing a long-term career in professional basketball that has taken him to Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Rwanda, Egypt and Argentina.

More recently, high school students have been recruited by Ameriean colleges. They include Collins Onyando, a product of Maseno School, who was voted the Trans-South Conference Freshman of the Year in 2005.

Whereas it encouraging that the standards of high school basketball have risen, it is discouraging that when the players leave the country, they do not play for Kenya.