Ahmedu donates kits to Rivers Hoopers, urges team to win BAL
Opong thrilled by quality of teammates
FIBA Africa Zone Three President, Sam Ahmedu, has urged Nigeria’s representatives in the forthcoming FIBA Basketball Africa League, Rivers Hoopers, to win the competition and justify the confidence reposed in them by their numerous fans.
Speaking while presenting sports items to the team as they prepare for the competition, the Dodan Warriors proprietor also enjoined all Nigerians to support the team to ensure they return with the trophy from Rwanda, venue of the completion.
“We need to encourage Hoopers to do well because as our flagbearers, they deserve all the support to attain success.”Ahmedu presented match balls, tee-shirts andN50, 000 cash to boost their morale ahead of the competition billed to hold from May 16 to 25.
The Rivers State team, which is currently training at the indoor sports hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, is expected to travel to Kigali on May 14.
Meanwhile, Ugandan international, Robinson Odoch Opong, who just joined the Hoopers, believes his team has the quality to win the BAL in Rwanda.
Rivers Hoopers signed Opong as replacement for injured Festus Ezeli, who won the 2015 NBA with Golden State Warriors. Speaking for the first time since he was announced as a Hoopers’ player, he said there was no way he would have rejected the KingsMen’s call to join them for BAL.
“When the offer came, it felt like the right thing to do. Now, I can’t wait to get out there and represent the club and its fans in Kigali.”
After sealing deals for four players, some fans have said the KingsMen should be able to get at least a podium finish, but Opong says the players’ fitness would be a major decider of their title ambitions.
“I think we have what it takes to make a push in the tournament. I pray that everyone stays healthy so we can accomplish big things together,” he said.
On the BAL partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and FIBA, Opong feels it is a privilege to play in a competition of its magnitude.
“I think it is huge. I am really glad that the NBA has invested in Africa. The BAL and the NBA working together will only help elevate our sport in our continent,” he added.
Opong is no stranger to playing on the African soil as he represented his country, Uganda at the 2017 Afrobasket Championship and 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers.
He also played for Mozambican side Ferroviario Beira at the 2019 Africa Basketball League. His experience will give Rivers Hoopers a great boost ahead of BAL, which tips off on May 16.
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