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Nigeria should dominate Africa, NBBF boss tells clubs



Mark Mentors’ Abdul Yahaya (right) trying to beat Dele Ademola of Kano Pillars during the 2015 DStv Premier Basketball League National Final Eight play off in Lagos. Both teams will represent Nigeria at the African Club Championship, which dunks off in Angola…this weekend.

Nigerian teams dominated the just concluded FIBA Africa Zone Three qualifiers, where they picked all the four slots to represent the zone at the FIBA Africa Club Championships billed to dunk off in Luanda, Angola this weekend.

But the President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, believes the teams can go one better by dominating the continental championship in the Southern African country.

Women’s league champions, Dolphins and runners up First Bank, as well as Men’s champions, Mark Mentors and runners up, Kano Pillars, qualified to represent West Africa from the Zone Three qualifiers held in Benin Republic.

Speaking on the prospects of the Nigerian teams, Umar said the clubs’ showing at the qualifiers has proved that the sport is developing at the grassroots level in the country. But he urged the men and women’s teams not to rest on their oars as they prepare to contend with other African sides in Angola.

I congratulate our teams for continuing what has been a fantastic year for Nigerian basketball. It is good to have Nigeria’s four clubs, both men and women, represent the zone at the Africa Champions Club Championship, particularly at this time when our national teams have won laurels in Africa this year.

You will recall that D’Tigers won their first continental crown in Tunisia this year before claiming Bronze at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, while in the women’s category, the Junior D’Tigress came second at the FIBA Africa U-16 Championship in Madagascar before the senior girls, the D’Tigress, claimed Silver and Bronze at the 2015 African Games and Afrobasket for Women respectively,” he said.

Both Kano Pillars and Mark Mentors will be aiming to make history this year in Angola by becoming Nigeria’s first continental club champions, if any of the teams win the championship.
First Bank of Lagos have their sights set on ending their six-year wait for a third continental crown after victories in 2005 and 2009.

Reigning Nigeria women’s league champions, Dolphins of Lagos, is also relishing an improved performance in their second straight appearance on the continent. They are gunning for a first title.
The Women FIBA Africa Club Champions Cup will hold in Luanda from November 27 to December 6. The male category will take place four days later in the Angolan capital city from December 10 to 19.

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