22nd August, 2011
First Bank Basktball Club of Lagos believes their experience in the game will see them through the last phase of the Zenith Bank Women’s League.
Still recovering from the shock of the defeat they suffered in the hands of their arch rivals, First Deepwater of Lagos, during the second phase of the league played in Akure, First Bank are banking on the vast of experience of their players to reclaim the league title.
First Bankâ€™s head coach Aderemi Adewunmi, who just returned from Akure, said that with the array of experienced players at his disposal, the league trophy is still within their reach.
â€œThough First Deepwater beat us in Akure, I am confident that when we meet again in the third phase in Lagos, it will be a different ball game.
â€œI am not saying that Deepwaterâ€™s victory was not deserved, but my players played a good game too. I didn’t really know what happened, because our free throws, shots were not getting into the basket.
â€œIt was painful because we were determined to win all our games and just make the third phase of the league a formality,” he said.
Coach Adewunmi said they would resume training immediately after their break with the aim to perform better in the third phase.
â€œMy players are currently on a 12-day break after which training will resume immediately. We intend to correct all the mistakes we made in Akure and redeem our image by regaining our fans’ confidence,” he said .
Coach Adewunmi did not fail to commend the fighting spirit of Deepwater, whom they defeated at the first phase of the league in Abuja. A defeat which Deepwater revenged in Akure with a victory of 66-64 points in a thrilling match.
â€œI must commend the entire team of First Deepwater. They really went back to the drawing board and worked on their weaknesses after we defeated them at the first phase.
“What they did really worked for them not only because they beat us but the way they defeated other teams in Akure. I give them kudos.â€
â€œWe learnt our lessons and we are ready to work on our lapses. We are, therefore, confident of regaining the title this year,â€ Adewunmi said.
Buttressing coach Adewunmi’s stance was assistant coach of First Bank, Chris Acha.
He said:â€ There is no way we are going to lose the trophy in Lagos. We know how to rally from the brink of despair to glory. It is what we have done before and we still have the players that can repeat the feat.â€
Meanwhile, Lateef Erinfolami, the First Deepwater coach, said that the third phase of the league in Lagos would be tough but his team are prepared for the challenges ahead.
â€œThis season has been really tough and I donâ€™t expect the third phase to be short of that. Players in all the clubs are getting more competitive and fighting to be part of the national teams, be it the All Africa Games team or the Afrobasket women team,” he said.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, is yet to announce the commencement date for the third phase of the league, already scheduled to hold in Lagos.
There are indications that the tourney may not hold till second week of October due to the ongoing Menâ€™s Afrobasket in Madagascar, the Women Afrobasket and the All Africa Games basketball that will start in September.