As the FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2017 draws near, expectations are high for the Zone 3 representatives to perform well at the tournament in Tunisia. Incidentally, the two representatives are Nigerian teams, Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls qualified from the just concluded Zone 3 qualifiers in Lagos with both sides finishing first and second respectively.
The two finalists of the Kwese Premier Basketball League qualified ahead of Mark Mentors, Civil Defenders, ASPAC of Benin Republic and Custom Braves of Ghana.
Over the years, Nigerian clubs who have been dominant in Zone 3, have failed to replicate same success on the continent. The last time Kano Pillars side finished on the podium was in 1987 when Kano Pillars finished third. In 2016, Kano pillars went close when they got to the semis but were eliminated by the host, Al Ahly 75-61 points and returned without a medal as they lost the 3rd Place game to AS Sale 76 – 88 points in Egypt.
Head coach Kano Pillars, Sani Ahmed who was part of the 1987 bronze winning team has promised a good outing in Tunisia next month.
“We have been going to this championship and last year we lost at the semis and that’s because we played the home team. Everybody knows what and how it means to play a home team especially in Egypt whether its football of basketball.”
“I think we had a good chance last year. We will look at areas we are lacking and try to beef up the squad ahead of the championship in Tunisia. We will need to bring a big man and a shooter and we promise to finish on the podium this time around by Gods grace”
The 2017 FIBA Africa Champions Cup will take place in Rades, Tunisia from December 10-20.