27 March 2008

NIGERIA : Zenith League - Dolphins, Elephant Girls in Abuja

Pius Ayinor

The countdown to the 2008 Zenith Bank Basketball League practically entered the second stage yesterday with the arrival in Abuja of the First Bank team. The ladies nicknamed Elephant Girls are the defending champions. The arrival of the Elephant Girls was the second of the entries from outside of Abuja as the Dolphins team hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday.

"We actually planned arriving two days to our first match by there was a little mix-up in our calculations that caused us to set off almost two days earlier than planned. But it's okay; at least we'll settle down fully before the jump ball," Wale Aboderin, the proprietor of the club said in Lagos after the team took off for Abuja.

Dolphins who were the runners up last season will open their campaign on Friday with a midday game against Plateau Rocks. The Rocks are making their return into the big league for Nigerian women after missing out for two seasons due to relegation. But that match, the opening game would have been played by First Bank and FCT Queens who need more than local support to survive their opponents with the highest collection of national players.

All other seven teams are billed to enter into town today while the pre-match meetings will hold Thursday at the Abuja National Stadium. The matches proper are billed to begin on Friday and run through to the following weekend.

The second phase of the competition will hold in Enugu next month while the third and final phase will hold in Lagos by June. The winners and runners from the combination of the phases will represent Nigeria on the continent by the last quarter of the year.

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