NAIROBI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya women's team coach Ronnie Owino said his team has been ready to meet challenges as the FIBA Women's AfroBasket championship to be held in Dakar, Senegal from Aug. 9-18.
The tournament will also serve as a pre-qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo summer games with the top six teams out of 12 to compete in the Africa qualifiers for the Olympics, while Kenya and Democratic Republic of the Congo, who qualified through wildcard invitations, hold the underdog tag.
"The players are ready and the feeling in camp is buoyant because we have seen what the men side has done in Bamako, Mali losing to DRC in the finals," said Owino.
Kenya men's basketball team made their debut at the tournament earlier this year and went all the way to the finals, and Owino said the bar was raised and his side had no choice but to meet the challenge.
"They (the men's team) beat the giants of Africa with their teams heading to China for the Basketball World Cup. But we need to write our own narrative and we hope to take on the bigwigs with no fear," Owino said.
Kenya women's team has been pooled alongside Cape Verde and Mozambique in Group D, which Owino believes is an accommodative pool.
The AfroBasket Championships mark a return of Kenya to continental basketball for the first time since 2013 after finishing second in the Africa Zone Five Championship in Kampala last month and getting a bye from the world basketball governing body FIBA.
With a total of 12 teams competing in the Dakar showdown, only the top six will earn berths to the African zone qualifications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and African champions Nigeria will be the favorites after having reached the quarterfinals of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 in Tenerife, Spain.