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Kenyan Men’s Basketball National team with a help of a woman as a head coach has made history to reach Afro Basketball Tournament after 28 years.

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“If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.” Mia Hamm.  Liz Mills, the Australian basketball coach has always dreamed to be one of the greatest women coaches in the world, and she never allowed her gender to be the reason to not reach her dreams. The Australian has been appointed to coach the Kenyan team after spending time serving as an assistant coach at Patriots in Rwanda last year.

In a country where women are still not empowered enough, it is an honor and privilege for her and other women in sports to be considered on the head coach position. Mills experiences on analytics and breakdown has made her so unique and competent. Her tactics and techniques that has not existed in past years in Africa influences her to outstand even better than some male basketball coaches in the continent.

It is quite hard to coach a male team when you are a woman regardless the experience that you carry with you. Some societies in Africa still have those stereotypes that deny women’s abilities and capabilities to give a 100% performance as men. “Of course the players were looking at me and wondering who the hell this is. At least I had previously met some of the players but you just know how men react when told a woman is in charge, and especially in sport,” she says. However she is so excited and happy to work with them due to the fact that the players have been complimenting her efforts by working in training and are very eager and willing to learn and adapt to her tactics.

She said during interview with the media that she is very happy to work with the Morans (Kenyan Men’s National Basketball Team). She added that she was very impressed with her first practice with the team. The players executed some new plays well, and trained with energy.

Photo/ Liz Mills, a head coach of Kenyan Team

Liz Mills has worked in Kenyan basketball before where she was engaged in coaching programmes and working with the university league back in 2015. Mills has great knowledge about African basketball as she has been in the continent since 2011. She has devoted to give her full time passion and love to African basketball after she graduated with a degree in Sport Science and Sport Management in 2008. Later she started working in Zambia as a volunteer.

She said, “Zambia is where it all started for me. I have to give (Heroes Play United) credit as they were open to having a random Australian approach them to run a training session. The first session was only supposed to be an hour, but they encouraged me to stay and then come back for the next session which turned into working with them for the rest of the season.”

Mills kept working with Heroes Play United to the national championship, and it is one of her great accomplishments she will never forget in her coaching career. After that amazing experience, she later led another Zambian club, Matero Magic, before she moved to Rwanda.

“I have had a great journey in Africa. I want to leave an indelible mark with this Kenya team,” she said. Liz wants to motivate and inspire other women through her success to also take up basketball coaching career.

The Kenyan team, led by Liz Mills will be in Kigali during Afro basketball in August this year, and all Kenyans are curiously awaiting to see their team in Kigali Arena. In the interview with the BBC, his coach mills mentions that she knows what awaits them in Kigali.

“In Afro Basket we will not play against teams like Mozambique, we will play against well-prepared and strong teams. We will also go to Rwanda without fear, our goal is to exceed the first round,” she said.

There is no doubt that many athletes around the world, especially Kenyans are very proud to see such incredible achievement made by a determined woman who leads a men’s team. She’s a living proof that if all women are empowered in different sectors can contribute as much as men.

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