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Zenith Bank women’s league not all comers affair, says NBBF

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[FILES]Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has disclosed that it decided to increase the number of clubs in the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has disclosed that it decided to increase the number of clubs in the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League, which dunks off on July 1, because the current female league does not have lower divisions from where clubs could be promoted to the Premier Division like their male counterparts.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NBBF Vice President, Babs Ogunade said the notion in some quarters that the women’s league was now an all-comer affair because the body asked more teams to apply to take part in the competition was not right.

He said the present NBBF board’s vision was to see that more girls exhibited their skills in basketball and also developed the game at the grassroots level, adding that strict measures would be adopted to select teams for the championship.

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Ogunade maintained that the 2019 Zenith Bank Women League would be more competitive, as the selected clubs would come from all parts of the country.

“Despite the fact that the NBBF is giving room for more clubs to apply, we will also take our time to pick the best teams. Professionals have been assigned to handle that aspect,” he said.

Meanwhile, 25 teams will begin campaign for league glory and a continental ticket when the Men’s Premier League tips off on July 8, the federation has revealed.

The teams divided into the traditional Savannah and Atlantic Conferences will see the return of Dodan Warriors, Lagos Islanders and Union Bank basketball clubs into the elite division after having their bans lifted by the NBBF.

The league, which will serve as qualifiers for the newly introduced and money spinning NBA sponsored Basketball Africa League (BAL), will run between July 8 and November 9.

The Savannah Conference, made up of teams in the North Central, North East and North West geopolitical zones consist of Kano Pillars, Kada Stars (Kaduna), Bauchi Nets, Nigeria Immigration (Zaria), Niger Potters (Minna) and City Chiefs of Gboko.

Defenders of Abuja who got to the knock out stage of the 2019 FIBA Afro League will hope to build on their achievements when they compete against city rival, Mark Mentors, Plateau Peaks of Jos, Gombe Bulls, Benue Braves and Nigeria Army in the Savannah Conference.

In the Atlantic Conference, all eyes will be on Dodan Warriors, Islanders and Union Bank as they rekindle their city rivalry for the control of Lagos.

For newly promoted Invaders of Ado Ekiti, Raptors of Lagos and Enugu Coal, their mission will be to stay afloat against Kwara Falcons of Ilorin, Nigeria Customs of Lagos, Oluyole Warriors of Ibadan, Hoops and Read and Delta Force of Asaba.

One of Nigeria’s 2019 season continental representatives, Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt will hope for another taste of continental action in the newly introduced Basketball Africa League.

According to the NBBF, all the clubs should submit their completed forms, including players’ registration and clubs entry to the secretariat on or before June 30.


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