Head coach of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club Ogoh Odaudu is expecting a tough challenge when the 2019 Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Premier League dunks off on Sunday in Ilorin.
Rivers Hoopers alongside 12 other teams in the Atlantic Conference have been invited to Ilorin while 10 other teams will battle it out in the Savannah Conference in Zaria from Sunday, October 20 to Monday, October 28.
With only one slot awarded to Nigeria in the newly formed Basketball Africa league scheduled to begin in March 2020, Odaudu believes it will be a tough battle against any team.
“It is a very tough task. No team will be easy with this kind of situation and you can't afford to have any slip ups or make any mistake,” said Odaudu.
“You have to approach each game with 100 percent level of seriousness. We won’t underrate any player or any team we are going to approach each game as if we are playing the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals. We are going to do our best to finish top and hopefully grab the one slot awarded to Nigeria”.
The Lagos State Basketball Association started a City League in June and Odaudu thinks it has handed the Lagos based teams an advantage over others due to inactivity of the National League.
“It is a great advantage for the Lagos teams. Practice is entirely different from playing matches they have played lots of matches in the City League experiencing different ball situations. It will affect us but hopefully with the team that we have and amount of talent on the team, we are confident that we can overcome them.”
Rivers Hoopers will leave Port Harcourt on Saturday morning for Ilorin, venue of the 2019 NBBF Premier League.
The National Final 8 of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League will take place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos from October 17-24, 2019.
Following the conclusion of the Conference playoffs in Ibadan, First Bank of Lagos maintained their unbeaten run in the 2019 season to top the Atlantic Conference ahead of MFM who finished second.
Dolphins and Asaba based Delta Force finished third and fourth respectively to confirm their spots in the Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League National final 8.
In the Savannah Conference played in Abuja, Air Warriors stayed true to their name as they defeated all seven oppositions to qualify for the National Finals on a high while Customs under Coach AbdulRahman Mohammed finished second.
Plateau Rocks and Zenith Bank sponsored league debutants, Blackgold Queens will also be coming to Lagos after their impressive display at the conference phase.
The two National finalists will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers to be hosted in Cotonou, Benin Republic from October 28 to November 3.