Kenya Ports Authority
Photo courtesy FIBA
By Ariel Okall
Editor: Brenda Mwaniki
Anthony Ojukwu has had the honor of coaching some of the best basketball players in Kenya. During this time he has also won multiple championships, earning him a spot among Kenya’s top basketball coaches. We had a conversation with the legendary coach about the great players he has coached and guided over the years. Th3Doctor’s Report challenged him to name his list of the all-time best players that he has nurtured and worked with and he gave us ten names. The first list of five contains the names of players who brought him to the limelight, seasoned veterans of Kenyan basketball. The second half has the names of players who have carried his legacy and we call it the new generation all time greats.
Veterans All-time Greats:
- Francis Furaha
Known for his shooting prowess. Furaha was a combo guard and one of the best to ever grace the Kenyan basketball scene. A hard working and disciplined player. It is said his height and length gave him the necessary advantage over defenders. He was equally swift, with a quick first step. Furaha was what we call a professional scorer, due to his ability to score the basketball. Furaha was a true floor general with a winners heart.
- Tobias Ocholla Onyango
Odumbe Tobias Onyango is one of the baddest most talented ballers the country has ever seen. He is what you get when you combine talent and work ethic. Before KPA, he was already a champion with KCB Lions with multiple MVP titles. Odumbe joined KPA in 2014 and left with four titles.
- Kooshin Dirye
The Somali/Canadian came into the league and featured for Eastliegh-based Mennonite Warriors. His ability to score from the three point line was impeccable. Kooshin‘s height and lengh gave him the advantage. He knocked down shots regardless of the different types of defenses opponents threw at him. Kush as he is known, joined KPA in 2014 and helped the Dockers win the 2014 championship.
- Dennis Dikembe Achiego
Many of you know him as ‘Ukweli Sumu’. He is now with the Lions Basketball Team. Dennis Dikembe is by far most vocal of players in Kenya’s basketball circles. That being said, on court his game too made a lot of noise. He joined KPA in 1998 and he was able to feature for the team in various FIBA tournaments. He is also one of the players with a unique signature move: the turnaround baseline jump-shot. A great shot blocker in his playing days who brought aggression on both ends of the floor. This earned him his nickname “Dikembe”
- Patrick kirui
Kirui was a special one back in the day. The ability to use the backboard on that jumpshot was a thing of beauty. Off the court, Kirui remains the most humble baller you ever met. Popularly known as ‘Japala’, the explanation of the name was only known to his victims 😂, those who guarded him. He Joined KPA in 2009 and his impact on the team was huge.
New Generation All-time
- Victor Bosire
Victor Bosire is a defensive guard who joined KPA from the USIU tigers. With his leadership, KPA managed a threepeat. His style of play was perfect for coach Ojukwu who is known for his defense-oriented philosophy. Bosire is currently with Ulinzi Warriors, where he is a champion and the 2019 MVP. It will be important to note, he has won the Kenyan League Title 4 times in a row.
- Victor Odendo
Formerly of KCB lions and Ulinzi Warriors, the ‘Jet’ as he is popularly known, joined KPA in 2017 and won a championship. He is a defensive guard and a good shooter. For Ojukwu, he was a perfect fit.The Jet is still in KPA as the team skipper.
- Martin Kitong’o
Marto is a three man in disguise who also doubles as a four or even five depending on where the coaches will want to play him. He is aggressive on the boards and can easily bag double doubles if he so wishes. He joined KPA from Masinde Muliro University. He has 4 championships with KPA and has won Player Of The Year at the Magharibi Awards held every year for players from Western Kenya.
- Arou Ramadan Liol
Arou Ramadhan Chan is an enforcer who could give you 20 points and 10 rebounds easily in his days. He joined KPA in 2015 and his contribution to the team was felt immediately. He brought toughness to the team and veteran experience in the locker room. He won three back to back titles with the dock boys. He is currently in Juba running his charity organization.
- Ariel Okall
Ariel Okall joined KPA from Nakuru Club in 2013. Under the leadership of Coach Ojukwu, KPA went to two straight finals in 2013 and 2014 with Okall being named the MVP of the 2014 season. His ability to rebound the basketball was a plus for the team. Okall has been to three finals with KPA and won two. Currently, he is based in Algeria featuring for US Setif.
There you have it. These are the players that coach Anthony Ojukwu has in his all-time great’s list. It can be noted that almost all of them have a unique element in their game that fit well with Ojukwu’s coaching philosophy. He has always been a defensive and very intense coach and it’s no surprise that his list is dominated by great players who can deliver on both ends of the floor. So, in a game seven matchup between coach’s veterans and new generation greats, all the players in their prime, which team do you think would carry the day?