bird basketball roundup: Ghanaian manager takes charge of WNBA team, new tournament in Kenya

bird story agency Kenya May 22, 2024

Silalei Shani, bird story agency…..

Ghanaian-American Ohemaa Nyanin has recently been named the General Manager of San Francisco-based club, Golden State Valkyries, a team playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Nyanin assumed office on May 13 making her the first GM of the recently formed team. Golden State Valkyries is the 13th franchise in the WNBA following the league’s first expansion since 2008.

She comes from the New York Liberty, where she has been an assistant GM since 2022. Prior to that, she worked as the organization’s director of basketball relations. She is no stranger to success as The Liberty went to the WNBA Finals last season and made three playoff appearances in her tenure.

Nyanin will be responsible for overseeing all basketball operations and expressed her excitement over her new role at a press conference about the recent appointment.

Ohemaa Nyanin Press Shot after announcement to be named GM of Golden State Valkyries. Photo Courtesy: Pulse Ghana

“The investment that has already been committed to building an incredible WNBA franchise is nothing short of amazing,” Nyanin said, as quoted by ESPN.

“I’m just excited to collaborate with the current and future incredible minds to build a winning culture.”

Elsewhere, the Basketball Africa League’s Sahara Conference concluded to the tune of a packed-out Dakar Arena that brought in Heads of State, Senegal’s President Bassirou Diomaye Faye and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. 4 teams–Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers, Tunisia’s US Monastir, Rwanda’s APR and the host Senegal’s AS Douane–participated in the conference that took place from May 4th to the 12th .

In what was arguably the most competitive conference of the BAL this season, fans were treated to the BAL’s first double overtime finish in the matchup between Rivers Hoopers and APR as well as an impressive buzzer beater win by AS Douanes’s Mike Fofana in a crucial win over Nigeria’s River Hoopers to help improve their chances of a BAL playoffs berth after a shaky performance throughout the conference.

The 2024 BAL Sahara Conference is the 4th season of the Basketball Africa League and the first that includes the Kalahari Conference based in Pretoria, South Africa. The playoffs and finals take place in Kigali Rwanda from May 24th to June 1st.

In Kenya, twelve teams (six men and six women) battled it out for a moderate cash purse at the inaugural Eliud Owalo Foundation basketball tournament at the Nyayo National Stadium. The top teams of the men’s and women’s premiere leagues were brought together under the name and funding of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of ICT, Eliud Owalo whose objective of the event was to provide upcoming players with a platform to showcase their talents.

“Our objective is to allow players to play national basketball and get scholarship opportunities,” Owalo noted.

On the women’s side, Zetech Sparks won the first edition of the invitational tournament and shifted the power dynamics of Kenyan basketball after taking down defending league champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). Recent recruit and Cameroonian national Mitchelle Soukoujou was named MVP for the Sparks after finishing the final game with 20 points.

Nairobi City Thunder were crowned the winners in the men’s division that saw them continue their unbeaten run in the country. Thunder secured victory over Equity Dumas with an overtime score of 80-71 at Ulinzi Sports Complex. The highly entertaining game went into overtime with Thunder eventually winning 80-71 points.

“In the final moments, we ran a play with 118 seconds to tie it up and the boys executed it perfectly and extended the game into overtime,” Thunder coach Brad Ibs reminisced.

“We needed our captain Griffin Ligare who did won it for us and one of the many reasons he is captain.”

Kenya’s premiere league playoffs begin in June.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *