FIRST-LEG: Right in the heart of the federal republic of Nigeria, in the city of Abuja, the first ever FIBA Africa Basketball League, Elite 8 round, team Defenders and the defending champions AS Sale gets a tie, 69-69.
Fans were kept on their feet from all over at the intense game.
Both teams struggled from start to finish, with the aim of securing the win.
The more confident team and defending champions, AS Sale were given a run for their money, in a surprise by the rookie team, Defenders.
In a conversation with #14 Alhassan Enbago, he expressed gratitude over his rookie team and teammates for the good fight.
"This is our first outing, in an international tournament. We went toe to toe with the defending champions, and tied the game despite having the last opportunity to seal the deal"
"Everyone thought it would be a walkover, but thanks to God and everyone, we made our mark. And I believe this is the beginning for a greater future for the team." he concluded.
The Abuja stadium was filled on both sides of the gym, to witness this historic moment; Numbers of which hadn't been seen for a very long time.
The defending champions defeated Royal Hoopers with 29 points, defeated Gombe Bulls and lastly Kano Pillars, back to back.
Defenders was the most underrated team, but the underdogs have yet again proven themselves worthy of recognition.
For stats, three players entered double-digits:
#11 Ocheibi Okpe: 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals
#7 Ibe Abuchi Agu: 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block
#9 Adottah Albert: 12 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
The second-leg of the match would take place at Morocco, April 12th, 2019.
Would the Defenders shake the world by defeating the defending champions?
D'Tigers athlete, Jordan Nwora who is also a sophomore at Louisville, showed his interest in testing the NBA draft waters.
After previous Louisville University loss at the March Madness's Elite 8 tournament, Nwora made his thoughts public via his Instagram account few hours ago, and this came as expected, by most of his fans.
With his background, Nwora is confident and excited to take it to the next realm.
"The 2018-19 season is over and although it didn’t end like we all would have wanted, I’m happy to have been part of it and proud of the team’s accomplishments. To my teammates, we are forever brothers. We went into the season a little unsure, but came out stronger. To Coach Mack and all the coaching staff, I can’t thank you enough for all the guidance and support. Your faith in me is what led to my improvement. To the city of Louisville, the University, and the fans, you are all amazing. The shout-outs and cheering and overall support really helped give the team confidence. The combination of my teammates, coaches, and fans held team 105 to its motto of being - tough, together, and unbreakable.
Looking forward, I have decided to test the NBA draft waters. I am excited to receive feedback from the teams. With my strong Louisville foundation, I am excited for the future.
Whatever happens, I am a Card for life." he concluded.
His father, Alex Nwora who is the head coach of the Nigeria Senior Men Basketball team, is proud of his son, watching him taking the path to become greater than him.
Wishing him the best.
The 2019 domestic basketball season in Nigeria will start in April with the stakeholders meeting, Congress and Annual General Meeting.
According to the NBBF President, Engr. Musa Kida, the meeting with stakeholders will review the achievements recorded so far.
“We shall start with the stakeholders forum and at the same time hold the congress and our Annual General Meeting to look at the last one and half years, review it to see the progress we have made so far, areas of concern, where we need to improve on while also listening to the stakeholders.
“Our congress should be able to validate what it is that we have done so far”, Kida continued.
He revealed that the Congress shall pave way for the commencement of the much anticipated Total Men’s Division 2 League and the Zenith Women’s League amongst other domestic programs of the federation.
“As you know last year, Total Men’s Division 2 was very well attended and we had over 70 teams participating in the first stage” (state level).
He took pride in what the federation has been able to achieve on the home front since coming on board while assuring that more teams are expected to participate in the expanded Total Men’s Division 1 League.
“We have some teams that have also qualified from Division 2 to Division 1. Total Division 1 is going to be more elaborate especially with this expanded format.”
With definite dates already proposed for the various leagues, the NBBF president stressed that the domestic leagues will run over longer period than the 2018 season.
This he said is important to give the leagues needed visibility, coverage and afford players more games.
NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida has tasked Nigeria’s lone surviving representative in the 2018/2019 FIBA AfroLeague, Defenders Basketball Club of Abuja to go for broke when they host AS Sale of Morocco in the first leg of Elite Final 8.
Kida gave the charge on Thursday ahead of the team’s meeting on Saturday at 3:30pm at the Indoor Sports Hall, Package B of the Abuja National Stadium.
He enjoined fans in and around Abuja to come out in their numbers and cheer the team to victory to boost their chances of progressing to the semifinals.
“This team cannot do it all by themselves. The result in the first leg will be crucial to their progress to the semifinal of the competition. They need their fans, they need Nigerians and we all must unite behind the Defenders on Saturday.”
He commended them for advancing from Group B after finishing second behind ES Rades of Tunisia with 2 wins out of 3 games played in Cotonou, Benin Republic while stressing that advancing to semifinals should be their next target.
“We are quite proud of the fact that one of our representatives on the continent, Defenders Basketball Club of Abuja have gone all the way on the continental front by qualifying for the Elite 8 of the FIBA AfroLeague. To be one of the best 8 clubs in Africa is not a mean feat.”
He promised that the federation will not rest on his oars to ensure that these good performances are improved upon in the future.
Compatriots, Rivers Hoopers lost to the same team in the group stage 59-88 points thereby failing to progress to the Elite 8.
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has reassured stakeholders that there is no cause for alarm over the recent Interim injunction reportedly issued by the Federal High Court in Abuja on 20th March, 2019, restraining the NBBF from organizing the National Premier League.
The recent Ex parte Order stemmed from a lawsuit filed before the court by Alhaji Ibrahim Saad (Chairman Gombe State Basketball Association), Dr. Adegbite Adeyemo (Chairman, Kwara State Basketball Association) and some individuals posing as the League Management Board of the Kwese Premier Basketball League, over the choice of the federation in picking Nigeria's representative at the 2018/2019 FIBA Africa Basketball League. The League Management Board of the Kwese Premier Basketball League is a mere creation of the extinct NBBF which has no affiliation to the present NBBF Board.
The Federation through the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade described the actions as an unwarranted distraction.
“The distasteful intentions of the dramatis personae is already known to all basketball stakeholders and fans in Nigeria. This recent hitch will in no way deter us in consolidating on the progress so far recorded in the domestic and international scene since we assumed office in 2017.”
Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday, Ogunade said "The NBBF wishes to assure all basketball practitioners that this case lacks merit. Even though in deference to the law the NBBF is restrained from discussing the merits of the case which is subjudice since its already before a court of law.
The Board assured that the case will be pursued to its logical conclusion in consonance with the law and Sports regulations in force.
Ogunade advised all the State Basketball Association Chairmen and other stakeholders to remain steadfast in pursuit of excellence saying the programmes for the 2019 season already sent to all concerned stakeholders will tip off as scheduled.
2019 basketball calendar will officially start with the annual Stakeholders Meeting scheduled for Lagos and Abuja in April.
Kwara Falcons Basketball Club, announces dates for its screening.
The 2-day screening exercise, would take place at the Indoor Sports Hall, Kwara state stadium complex, Ilorin.
DATE: Friday 29th - Saturday 30th March 2019.
For more Information, Contact:
Steve (Head Coach): +234803 403 667
Azeez Kehinde Bello (Secretary): +234 703 722 6754
Lawal Bolaji Shardow (Media Board Member) 08179957640
D’Tigers have been drawn alongside Argentina, Russia and Korea in Group B of the 2019 FIBA World Cup for men in China between the August 31 -September 15, 2019.
Nigeria currently 33rd on the FIBA ranking will once again be facing familiar foes and world number 6, Argentina for the third time since their last 2 previous meetings at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It will be the first ever meeting against world number 10, Russia who are making a return to the world stage after missing out in 2014.
World number 32, South Korea will hope to put the ghost of their 2014 World cup behind them where they finished 23rd out of the 24 participating nations when both sides meet in the sprawling city of Wuhan.
Speaking immediately after the draws, NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida described the group as fair but tricky pointing out that early preparation holds the key to a successful World Cup campaign.
“Now that we have known the teams that we will face, we need to start preparations in earnest if we are to make an impact in China.
“We are going to the World Cup as the number 1 team in Africa and the first country to qualify for the world cup globally on the back of a 9 -game unbeaten streak, so we have definitely drawn some attention”, he said.
The NBBF has already commenced preparations in earnest with the D’Tigers’ head coach, Alex Nwora in talks with some key players ahead of the world cup.
“In the coming days, we shall reel out our World Cup preparation plans which will also go side by side with the African Games. If we get our acts right and get the needed players we are targeting, we can achieve a result that all Nigerians will be proud of”.
Present at the event were FIBA President Horacio Muratore, new FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and representatives of the 32 participating national teams.
Nigeria was represented by D’Tigers Team Manager Musa Adamu and Lawal Razaq Dayo (Nigerian high ranking embassy staff in China)
The event which heralds the first basketball World Cup with 32 teams was held in front of 8,000 spectators at Shenzhen Bay Arena.
Group B, FIBA Africa Basketball League (FIBA ABL). Cotonou, Benin Republic.
At the first edition of the FIBA ABL, Defenders Basketball of Nigeria defeated host team, Elan Sportif of Benin Republic, 62-58, to qualify for the Elite 8.
Both teams came out in their AFA Sports gears and foot-locks, in a battle of the better!
The intensity was great on both sides who sought to get their second win in a bid to be amongst the top 8 teams in the African continent.
Starting at the first quarter, Defenders came up strong, finishing 19-11, but just before halftime, Elan Sportif made more points, 14-18.
Defenders increased the lead scoring more points at the third quarter, 17-11, but nearly got overrun at the last minute by Elan Sportif who made more points at the fourth, 12-18.
The slender lead of 4 points, was enough to make or break any team, depending who is on the receiving end. And this time, it favoured the Nigerian side.
#11 Ocheibi Okpe was on fire today getting a double-double: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
#7 Ibe Abuchi Agu continued his double-digit ways; 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block.
#13 Umar Garba had 14 points and 5 rebounds.
In other news, Nigerian player on the Benin team, John Owhe had the highest efficiency of 13. Generally, he secured 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
With the turn of things, General Manager Victor Okoro, congratulated the team for their hard work and dedication.
The Elite 8 tips off on March 22nd, 2019 and ends 14 April, 2019.
Group D: First edition FIBA Afria Basketball League, Cotonou Benin:
The Civil Defenders basketball club of Nigeria lost to ES Radès of Tunisia, 96-80.
The experience and coordination from the winning team was displayed to the detriment of team Defenders.
Team Defenders made less points in all the quarters except the fourth, which did not count, due to the fact they had conceded a whole lot, prior to the final blow of the whistle.
The boys played hard both defensive and offensively; did all they could, but it seemed luck was not on their side.
Notwithstanding #7 Ibe Abuchi Agu had 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
#11 Ocheibi Okpe hit 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
#13 Umar Garba: 17 points and 3 rebounds.
Added to this, #10 Martins Ozege had a 3/3 (100%) on Field Goals.
Team defenders have the last chance to book the Elite 8 ticket as they face the host team Elan Sportif, tomorrow.
Civil Defenders Basketball Club of Nigeria, started on a high note, after defeating BC Terreur of DR Congo, 67-59.
Since inception, team Defenders never attended a basketball tournament at the continental level, let alone the first edition of the FIBA Africa Basketball League.
Furthermore, they came out with an indigenous clothing brand, AFA Sports, which provided high-quality sports outfits, gears and wears, for both male and female. AFA Sports also sponsored the host team, Elan Sportif.
The winning team started off slowly; scoring a total of 7 points at the end of the first quarter, while the opponent 18 points.
However, at the end of second quarter, both teams scored 18 points.
The turning point was the third and fourth quarters: The scores increased with Defenders pouring it in at the expense of BC Terreur.
Wearing jersey number 7, and a spectacular performance by debut D'Tigers athlete, Ibe Abuchi Agu, had a double-double of 23 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
10 of his rebounds were on the defensive end.
#11 Ocheibi Okpe had 13 points, 9 rebounds and 1 steal.
We won't forget #5 Johnson Anaiye who not only secured 4 steals, he also had a 6/6 shooting accuracy at the Free-throw line.
This first game put Nigerian fans at ease and gave hope of qualifying for the Elite 8.
Team Defenders would face ES Radès of Tunisia tomorrow in a bid to be the first team to qualify for the next round in group B.