19 November 2009

NIGERIA : Mixed fortunes for our basketball teams in Cotonou

It is mixed fortunes for First Bank and First Deepwater basketball clubs at the 15th edition of the FIBA Africa Champions Club for Women championships, which started on November 13 at the Palais des Sports in Cotonou, Benin.

As the participating countries take a break from action today, we look at the mixed fortunes of the Nigerian clubs.

First Bank flies into quarterfinal

First Bank has performed excellently by picking the quarterfinal ticket after three straight victories with a game in hand.

Lumped in Group A with Abidjan Basket Club (ABC) of Cote d' Ivoire, Apolitechnica of Mozambique, KPA of Kenya and hosts, Energie of Benin, the Nigeria champions put behind them their poor run in the FIBA Africa Zone-III qualifiers in Cote d'Ivoire to outpoint Apolitechnica 74-54 in their opening game.

Led by forward, Rashidat Sadiq of the national team, D'Tigress, First Bank won their second game against ABC 57-56. This was achieved coming from a first quarter loss of 21-14 to win the second and third quarters by 13-09 and 19-13 points. A 13-11 point fourth quarter loss did not deny Sadiq, who led the floor with 25 points, 4 rebounds and one block-shot, and team mates the joy of victory.

Brimming with confidence from their first two victories, First Bank sent inexperienced Energie to the classification stage. The Adewunmi Aderemi tutored team were emotionless as they slammed to a 88-67 point victory.

Dicey stand for Deepwater

However, while First Bank have provided an excellent performance in the championship, Deepwater have not been able to repeat the performance which saw them leading the Zone III qualifiers early in the month. Deepwater started on sad note with the national league's runner-up falling 58 - 83 to Interclube of Angola.

In what looks like a baptism of fire, the Lateef Erinfolami coached side that is making their first appearance in the annual competition lost all four quarters by 14-09, 22-17, 28-16 and 19-16 points.

The team fared no better in its second game as they were crushed 20-08, 15-12 and 20-12 points in the first three quarters by reigning champions, Desportivo basketball club of Mozambique who fell 72-71 to Alexandra Sporting Club of Egypt, another new entrant to the competition, on the opening day.

At the end of the game, the Nigerians lost 52-72 despite putting up a much improved performance in the last quarter to get a slim 20-17 point win. The team, however, put their chances of qualifying for the quarter finals on track with an 88-67 points win against Sporting of Egypt.

Only a victory over CSA of Cote d' Ivoire in its final group stage match will take Deepwater to the quarterfinal. Ironically, both clubs only victory has been against Egyptian's Sporting.

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