29th November, 2010
Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, has charged the two countryâ€™s representatives,Â Kano Pillars Basketball Club and Royal Hoopers Basketball Club to double theirÂ efforts in their final preparations towards the continentâ€™s biggest clubÂ championship.
With less than three weeks to the first jump-ball of the final round of the 2010Â FIBA-Africa Champions Club for men holding inÂ Benin Republic, the federationÂ advised the clubs not to leave any stone unturned towards presenting teams that willÂ make the country proud.
Pillars and Hoopers won the tickets play in the final round of the Champions CupÂ after finishing first and second in the FIBA-Africa Zone-3 qualifying round held inÂ Monrovia, Liberia a few weeks back.
The two Nigeriaâ€™s DSTV Premier League Champion and runners-up are in the race forÂ the continent flagship club championship with Pillars going in as the continentÂ fifth best team, while Royal Hoopers is a debutante.
Royal Hoopers Basketball club who started two weeks close camping in Kaduna StateÂ last week are determined and working hard to present a team that make their stateÂ and country proud in its first continental outing in the final round of the AfricaÂ Champions Cup after finishing second in the Zone-3 Elimination.
Team Manager of the less than three years old club, Ifie Ozaka, told BasketballÂ Timeout that the club is determined to continue its good performance afterÂ qualifying from the FIBA-Africa Zone-3 alongside counterpart, Pillars in Liberia.
Ozaka said he is optimistic that the club will make Rivers State, Nigeria andÂ FIBA-Africa Zone-3 proud in the Benin Republic show-down, which has Despotivo deÂ Agosto as the defending champion.
â€œWe are going to Benin RepublicÂ with the aim of beingÂ counted among the topÂ contenders for the trophy. Our experience from the FIBA-Africa Zone-3 qualifiers hasÂ enriched us to a large extent and we are determined to take our rightful place inÂ Africa basketball,â€ he stated.
Meanwhile, the head coach of Pillars, Sani Ahmed,Â said the team is targeting a goodÂ finishing in this yearâ€™s final round after finishing fifth in its last two outingsÂ in 2008 (Tunisia) and 2009 (Rwanda).
â€œOur goal is to perform better than before. The players are aware of this enormousÂ task, So they have a responsibility to carry out the technical benchâ€™s instructionÂ to achieve that,â€ said Ahmed, who is a member of the senior National Team TechnicalÂ crew.
Ahmed said they are back to training after the Sallah breakÂ Â and everybody in theÂ team is working hard, because we all know what is at stake when hostility beginsÂ next month.