USIU-Africa hosts the 4th Afro-Varsity 3X3 Basketball Challenge

By John Sande
Photo: John Sande

Over the weekend, November 6-7, USIU-Africa hosted the 4th Africa 3x3 Basketball University Championship. The two-day event attracted a total of 28 teams comprising 16 men, and 12 women drawn from 6 countries across Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Senegal and South Africa.

The Fédération Africain du Sport Universitaire/Federation of Africa University Sports or popularly known as FASU-Africa University Sports traces its history as far back as 1951 when two West African Universities namely University of Ghana and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in a quest to foster brotherhood and positive competition, started a bilateral annual sporting competition. Fast forward in 1971, thirty-one delegates from seventeen universities representing 10 African countries met in Lagos, Nigerian to form FASU, and the games have been on since.

Speaking while welcoming the visitors on behalf of USIU-Africa, Dr. George Lumbasi, Chief Admissions Officer was grateful that FASU had selected USIU-Africa to host the games, for the third time in a row.
“This proves that our hospitality during the previous two sessions was well received, giving confidence to the organizers to come back again. We hope to surpass it today, so you can visit once more," he said.

The Admissions Office was also on ground to speak to the visitors, many of whom were impressed by the facilities and inquired about applying to join as students, as well as transferring on a sports scholarship.

On his part, the Technical Committee Vice Chair, and Member of FASU Branding Committee, Mr. Bonfas Salano, who is also the Sports Coordinator at USIU-Africa thanked the teams for honoring the invitation, for traveling safely and wished all teams great performance.

Speaking during the opening ceremony conducted in the Auditorium, FASU President Ms. Nomsa Mahlangu expressed her gratitude to USIU-Africa for accepting to host the games again.

“We are indeed grateful to our host USIU-Africa for having been generous to host these games for the third year running.

“I urge you to enjoy the tournament, to play well, to be fair to yourselves, and the game, and yes, to make friends. And before you leave Nairobi, ensure you have tried nyama choma, she added while declaring the games officially open.

In the preliminaries the teams were divided into four groups to battle it all out. USIU-Africa’s Team ‘A’ in the male category took off on a high note beating Stellenbosch university from South Africa, 21 - 11. Their counterpart in Team ‘B’ were not so lucky as they lost their initial game 4 - 20 to Uganda Christian University (UCU). In the other matches of the day, USIU-Africa’s Team ‘A’ won one more game 12 - 11 (Chuka University), but lost two games 6 - 12 (University of Rwanda) and 15 - 16 (Kenya Methodist). Team ‘B’ won 9 - 8 (Kisii University) and lost 9 - 17 (Ndejje University). Despite fielding two male teams and putting up a spirited fight, the aggregate points meant both teams ‘A’ and ‘B’ had to be eliminated with final standing positions 10 and 12 respectively.

The female team saw Team ‘A’ thrashing Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology 19 - 6, and Maseno University 17 - 4. They however lost two other matches versus ISEG University from Senegal (14 -15) and Chuka University (6 -7). Team ‘B’ opened its games by flogging Copperbelt University from Zambia 11 - 7. They however ran out steam and lost their subsequent matches to Uganda Christian University (7 - 14) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (11 - 12). Both teams were eliminated at the quarter finals having garnered final position 7 and 8 for team ‘B’ and ‘A’ respectively.

Day two of the games saw the battle of the quarter, semis and final matches played. In the men’s category, UCU made it to the finals after beating University of Zambia 21 - 11, to face off with their fellow countrymen from Ndejje University, who had earlier on edged off Kenyatta University 18 - 12.

It was an all Ugandan affair as the two teams displayed skill, determination, teamwork and coordination. However, Ajak Samuel and team mates were no match to the dominant display of dexterity and power of David Deng Kongor and Titus Lual from UCU who shot canons after another, finally sinking Ndejje University’s hopes by 21 - 8.

The Lady Canons powered their way to the finals after edging out their fellow country women Makerere University to a score of 16 - 7. The UCU Lady Canons faced off with ISEG University from Senegal who had also walked over University of Rwanda 10 - 3. Despite their ferocious attempts to muzzle up the Lady Canons, 3-point shots fired from Shakirah Nanvubya, assisted by Rose Akon, Nandutu Martha and Priscilla Abey inflicted maximum damage to the ISEG team lead by Mame Coumba Fall who succumbed to a score of 20 - 12.

Both the UCU men’s and women’s teams outshone their strongest competitors and booked a place to represent Africa in next year’s International University Sports Federation or Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) 3×3 University World Cup 2022, to be held in Xiamen, China.

Giving his vote of thanks on behalf of the host university, Mr. Bonfas Salano was grateful that no major injuries or incidents were picked up during the games, and were glad to have hosted the games successfully.

“We have hosted these games for the third year in a row, with our teams playing at home. Time has come for my university to also travel and explore other African cities, he concluded.

Speaking during the award ceremony, Kyambogo University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya expressed his gratitude to all the teams and players for exhibiting sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

“I have witnessed fair play today, both from the players and the refereeing, and want to say the best team carried the day. At some point, it was actually entertaining when the referees consulted the rule-book to resolve an unclear impasse, he said.

In her closing remarks, FASU President Ms. Nomsa Mahlangu urged the teams to extend her gratitude to the Vice Chancellors of all the universities represented for supporting the teams to attend the FASU games.

“As you travel back home, carry a message to all your Vice Chancellors and thank them for availing resources to enable you represent your university in these games, and for them supporting sports in your different institution.

“To the teams heading to the World Cup, remember you carry the hopes of Africa with you. It is no longer about you or your university, but the African Continent, she concluded.

The 5th Afro-Varsity 3X3 Basketball Challenge tournament will be held in South Africa in 2023.

In other sports
The men’s and ladies’ hockey teams emerged victorious in the Kenya University Sports Association (KUSA) university league that took place over the weekend. The men’s hockey team beat KCA University 2-0, while their female counterparts beat Mt. Kenya University 4-1. Meanwhile, in Soccer, the team tied with KCA university.

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