11 June 2013

Nigeria: Afro-Basketball 2013 - Home Base Must Work Very Hard - Bakare

National basketball team coach, Ayo Bakare has revealed that even though the federation has resolved to hit the 2013 Afrobasket in Abidjan with four local league players, the boys must have to work very hard for the slots.
Abdulwahab Yahaya (forward)-Mark Mentors, Abubakar Usman (guard)-Kano Pillars, Stanley Gumut (guard)-Mark Mentors, Michael Ohiero (guard)-Mark Mentors and Nkem Ojougboh (forward)-Comet were picked as the four to make the next phase of camping in the United States.
He said the boys have shown a lot of promise. "They are very good and have showed positive attitude and worked really hard; you cannot ask for more. The coaching crew was very pleased and we are really satisfied with the progress they showed in the camp. The coaching crew sat down and compared note and took the decision.
The federation has released a schedule which involves camping in the United States, travel to China for the Stakovich Cup tournament and various other things. I don't have a plan separate from what the federation is planning. Next phase will be in the United States. I am extremely satisfied with the home based boys. They have merited their call up and commitment of the federation in involving them in the programme. I have a strong belief even though it is difficult who and who will make the final team but from what they showed in camp in Abuja l have a strong belief if they keep working hard there is a solid chance that some of them will be on that team to Cote d'Ivoire."
Bakare who is reputed to be the most successful indigenous basketball coach harped on the need for hard work. "Mind what I said that if they keep working hard. We are not going to hand a shirt to anyone on a platter of gold. We are not going to discriminate because you are a home based player and by the same token we are not going to discriminate in your favour. We won't bend the rules just because you are a home based player.
Understand that the business of the federation is winning and presenting a team that can win. That won't change but it is just that the home based players have given us more reasons to hope that they would make the team but they have to work to earn their spots. It is not going to be an automatic thing or handed to them on a platter of gold. They must work as hard as everyone else and with what I have seen they have what it takes to claim some spots."
He said having four players in the overall team is fair considering the reality on ground. "We said four will make it from this camp and that is not a bad percentage because we had the whole of the players that were home based compete for four spots. The whole of the players who are outside have formed the larger chunk of our talents. We have to be realistic and not sentimental about this. It is impossible to have a 50/50 ratio in the national team because our talents base is not divided within a 50/50 ratio. While you want to apply sentiment, you must also apply facts and reality.
When it is 1st of September everyone will be expecting me to present the cup. I can't do that with sentiments involved that is probably why there is a measure of some success in this programme. We are not going to base anything on sentiments or say we are going to pick home based and foreign base 50/50. But we are picking and running the programme based on the reality on ground and our talents base. We are going to give everybody an equal opportunity."

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