25 March 2014

NIGERIA : First Deepwater Have All It Takes to Retain Title

First Deepwater Basketball Club of Lagos, the title-holders in the Zenith Bank National Female Basketball League, has said they have all it takes to win the competition again this year. The club's head coach, Lateef Erinfolami, said yesterday in Abuja that the club had prepared very well for the competition and he was looking forward to retaining the title.
Erinfolami told NAN that his team's resolve and determination were shown in their 77-14 defeat of Taraba Hurricane of Jalingo on Saturday. First Deepwater, winners of the league in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons, had on Saturday joined the fray at the competition, a day after Friday's opening ceremony. Erinfolami said his players were in good shape and in high spirits, and were ready to take on any team in the competition. "My girls are fully prepared and ready to lift the trophy again, and this showed in the way we played in our first match on Saturday and beat our opponents.
"I am so happy that my players are all in good shape, healthy and with no record of injury," he said. The coach, however, said he had cautioned the players not to allow being three-times champions get into their heads and begin to underrate other teams in the competition. "I am sure that other teams in the competition will come out strong to contest for the trophy too, and this is why I have charged my players to remain focused," he said. 16 clubs are involved in the competition's first phase, holding from March 21 to March 29 in Abuja, with the second phase slated for Ilorin in April.
Meanwhile, Coach Emmanuel Odah of the FCT Angels has attributed the team's current good form at the ongoing 10th Zenith Bank National Female Basketball League to early preparations. Odah told NAN on Sunday in Abuja after FCT Angels beat Plateau Rocks 60-45 in their second match of the 2014 edition of the league. While the first quarter ended 10-15 in favour of Plateau Rocks, the FCT Angels stormed back in the second quarter to dominate the game. They garnered 13 points while Plateau Rocks had only five points, for a 23-20 scoreline at the break. The Abuja side went on to shore up their dominance in the third quarter with 25 points, while Plateau Rocks could only register 14 points for the quarter to end 48-34. "We have been in camp for about three weeks and this is the longest camp we have ever had since we started playing in the Zenith League. "We have been working hard, although we are not satisfied with our present form because this is a new team. Some of our players left to go to school in the U.S. "So, we had to fill that gap as soon as possible, which was difficult for us though," Odah said. He noted that the poor start of the team in its game against Plateau Rocks was as a result of technical mistake. "The mistake we made in the first quarter was a technical one, because we did not detect on time that we were playing to the opponent's pace.
"Normally, we do not play half court. We run the ball. So, in the second quarter, we started doing what we know how to do best, which is running the ball and it worked for us. "Plateau Rocks players are bigger than ours and their guards are more experienced than our guards, but we just overcame them because they nearly took the game," Odah said. On the team's next match against Benue Queens, the FCT Angels coach said the team would take each match at a time and play according to the rhythm of the game. "We will take the matches as they come, which is one step at a time, just like we did today. "We will wait and see what happens in the next match, then we (will) take it from there," he said. On his part, the coach of Plateau Rocks, Alex Guwan, said that the weather affected his players. "Most of my players fell sick after our first match on Saturday and this affected our performance. "Although, we started Sunday's match on a good note, we are not used to this hot weather. "It was the weather which made them (the players) fall ill and though they are better now, it is still affecting them," he noted. In the other matches played earlier on Sunday, First Bank of Lagos mauled Coal City of Enugu 97-18 while Benue Queens fell 42-53 to Nigeria Customs. Also, Oluyole Babes beat Taraba Hurricanes 65-47 while IGP Queens from Abuja, beat Immigration of Lagos 58-36.

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