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 have lacked competitive and high profile test games, and Coach Oduadu believes this has made preparations very difficult.
“Preparation has been really hectic, we’ve had the time to practice, we’ve been practicing morning and evening for almost a month now and it’s been going on very well. The only unfortunate thing was that we’ve not had opportunities to play practice matches yet, we’ve just been playing against locally selected sides and amongst our self.”
“The only thing that has been missing in our preparation so far is quality practice match and I don’t think we have the time for that anymore, we will just head into the competition like that.”
Rivers Hoopers will leave Port Harcourt on Saturday morning for Ilorin, venue of the 2019 NBBF Premier League.
Credit: Rivers Hoopers Media