26 April 2008

NIGERIA : We’ve put squabbles behind us, says Nets manager

Bauchi Nets started the current season on a good note beating Tapgun Rockets of Jos 67-52 April 5th but then slumped at home the following weekend 67-36 to another Jos based team, Plateau Peaks.

It was a result most followers of the Premier League in Nigeria could hardly believe. It may not have been extra-ordinary for former national champions to defeat Nets in Bauchi but the 31points blow out could not be imagined. Last weekend they lost by two points (71-69) to defending conference champions Niger Potters in what their fans may consider a mark of improvement.

Those close to the team told our reporter that the Nets were facing serious in-house squabbles that translated into very poor displays on the court. And when we took on the official in charge of the team’s administration Lawan Garba on the allegation of problems within the team he owned up but emphasised that the matter had been put behind them.

“Yes, there was problem with the team but we’ve sorted it out and put everything behind us. We are now looking at the season afresh.

“It was indeed a question of communication breakdown and the players felt that the best way to make their case heard was to put up that kind of performance on the court,” Lawan who was an outstanding national team off guard in the late ‘80s said.

It was learnt that the palaver all revolved around cash and payment of players’ allowances. The management, it was explained, had agreed with the players on their entitlements for the season but there was delay stemming from bureaucracy and banking procedures which was then interpreted as “management not living up their own part of the bargain.”

A meeting after the match against Peaks April 12th resolved the issues. This weekend they will be guests of AHIP Giants in Kano and the players and management of Nets will need to produce a convincing result for their fans. Bauchi nets, even though a long standing team is yet to establish their force within the Savannah Conference like the Niger Potters, Peaks and Kano Pillars.

By Pius Ayinor

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