Civil Defenders basketball club will be making their first outing on the continent when action tipoff in the FIBA Africa Basketball League next month.
The Abuja based team qualified for the continental competition following their second place finish at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 tournament held in Cotonou in December 2018.
Speaking to ACLSports.com, Defenders head coach Paul Gambwer describes his first continental outing with the team a “privilege”.
“It is a privilege playing continental for the first time as a player and as a coach. I didn’t play on the continent when I was a player. When we played in Benin Republic in December, I saw the strength of other teams, their style of play and the games played. It was good we made our mark. I feel good about it and I am hoping we will pull up some more surprises.
The Defenders gaffer is confident his team can defy all odds and go far in the FIBA Africa Basketball League.
Civil Defenders have been grouped in Group B alongside 2017 continental finalists ES Rades, Elan Sportif and BC Terreur.
Reacting to the draws Gambwer said,”I believe it’s a group we can scale through since it’s two to qualify. I think if we play well we can qualify. We have started preparing and our game is in March so we have enough time to prepare.”
Gambwer is aware of the strength of his opposition and would be adding more players to strengthen his squad.
“The Tunisian side (Rades) are a very good and strong side, BC Terreur are also a strong side but I am gathering more information about them and for Elan we have played them once in Cotonou so we know them.”
“I’ll be adding one or two to beef up my team. They are quality players and I am sure they will contribute well.”
Nigerian clubs have finished four times on the podium, with a third place finish their best in those times. Kano Pillars have finished twice on the podium, 1985 and 1987 while Lagos Islanders and Dodan Warriors have both finished third only once in 2000 and 2006 respectively.
Surpassing previous records by other Nigerian teams on the continent is Defenders target.
“With hard work I feel I’ll pull up a surprise with this team on the continent. I want to go farther than any Nigerian team has gone. I am not under any pressure.
“I’ll plan and take each game at a time even if we lose one game I am very sure we will qualify. The more games we play, the better we get. I am hoping we win two games and that’s will be enough to qualify us,” he concluded