As First Bank Basketball Club intensify their preparations for the upcoming FIBA Women Club Championship head coach, Peter Ahmedu is not satisfied with his team’s preparation for the continental tournament.
Speaking to ACLSports.com from their training camp in Akure, Ahmedu said the foreign professionals are still expected in camp.
“We are not fully ready because we are still expecting our foreign players to join us anytime from now and that has been delayed for now and it has been giving me sleepless night because it will take time for them to gel as a team so we can create chemistry in the team. If we don’t have the players, it will be difficult for us to meet up and hopefully they arrive on time. I am expecting 4 foreign players;1 American, 2 Nigerians, 1 from Coted’Ivoire to add to the other players that we have already.”
The former Mark Mentors coach wants to avoid a repeat of 2015 occurrence which affected the team at the championship in Maputo.
“We are hoping to arrive at the championship early so we can avoid the problem we had two years ago. The team went in four batches and we played with only 6 players in our opening game and in the end, we came fourth. I hope it’s different this time around and the tickets will all be available for us and we hope the bank can assist us cover those lapses and help us arrive early this time around.”
“The bank knows the difficult part of the season is the club championship which I believe they should prepare the girls well. I hope the management of the team will look into this and avoid these lapses that would affect the team. We were expecting allowances for the girls to boost their morale despite not playing the qualifiers but they didn’t get.
The girls went for camping in Cotonou only for us to get back and realise we were the only one registered for the zone 3 championship and automatically qualified. Three of my girls have been called to the national team for the 3×3 championship in Togo and won’t join us until two or three days to the competition. I just hope this won’t affect us but I am working hard to make sure it doesn’t.”
Usually 2 teams each from 8 countries in zone 3 converge for zonal elimination battling for 2 slots but this year, other teams failed to register leaving First Bank with an automatic qualification to the FIBA Club Championship in Angola starting on November 10. Ahmedu said he would have preferred to test his girls against other African sides before heading to Angola.
“It’s a big disadvantage and big trap set for my team those who don’t understand the game will feel it’s a good thing we qualified without playing. Players who have not played in such a big stage would have used it as a good opportunity to test themselves if they can withstand the pressure and the big stage. I expected the bank to have organised invitational tournament even if we have to travel out of Nigeria so we will be able to know those ready to play the championship of that magnitude and I just hope it doesn’t affect us in any way.”