9th September, 2013
Following their triumph at the just ended 2012/2013 DSTV league at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos, Head Coach of Kano Pillars Club of Kano, Sani Ahmed, has expressed his delight at the victory.
Coach Ahmed, who spoke after his team defeated Union Bank of Lagos 86-75 in their last match at the National Final Four in Lagos, said winning the league title once again after three years is a good thing to happen to his team.
Pillars had gone 33 matches unbeaten in the league before they lost against Mark Mentors of Abuja 71-76 on Friday.
Pillars topped the Savannah Conference by winning all their 28 matches in the regular season, and went on to win all their three matches at the conference’s Final Four.
Ahmed said it has been a tough season for them regardless of their achievement in the competition which started on April 26.
“We are indeed a championship-winning team, and we are proud of our achievement. We believe in ourselves and we worked very hard to be at the top of our game,” he said.
The coach however said his team cannot to relax now because their aim is to go ahead and represent Nigeria well at the upcoming African Clubs Championship holding later in the year.
He said: “I am very happy we are going to play at the continental stage once again and we will try and reinforce the team for us to represent Nigeria well.”
Corroborating coach Ahmed’s view is the Most Valauble Player, MVP of this year’s tourney, Usman Abubakar , who plays for Pillars.
The veteran player said he is very happy to lift the domestic league trophy once again, adding that it has been tough for them finishing runners up behinde Royal Hoopers of Port Harcourt in the last two years.
“I am very happy to win the league and the MVP titles after we lost against Hoopers last year.
“Now that we have qualified to represent Nigeria on the continent, we’ll pull ourselves together because we don’t want a repeat of what happened last year when nio Nigerian team did well on the African clubs championship,” the three-point throw specialist said.
Union Bank are the other team that would represent the country on the continent after they finished first runners up in the league.
The coach Johnson Ayinla Johnson led team failed to lifting the league trophy when they lost their last match against Pillars in the final four playoffs.
Going into the last round of matches, Union Bank were pundits’ favourites to win the league after winning their first two matches against Mark Mentors and Dodan Warriors.
But their defeat against Pillars on the final day caused them the league title on cummulative points difference.
Speaking after the match, coach Ayinla blamed his players for the lost, saying they did not play smart against Pillars.
“My players did not play smart and that was what caused our lost today (Friday). It is very annoying to concede the league’s title to a side we could have beaten easily and lift the trophy.
“We take consolation in our second place finish and a ticket to represent Nigeria at the African Clubs Championship,” Ayinla said.
Warriors’ Azuoma Dike won the Best Scorer’s award while the Best Rebounder’s award went to Sodiq Adedeji of Pillars.