Civil Defenders head coach, Paul Gombwer is upbeat about their chances against AS Sale during the first leg of the FIBA Africa Basketball League Elite 8 game in Abuja on Saturday.
Defenders have had a memorable debut on the continent beating Elan Sportif and BC Terreur of DR Congo to advance to the quarter finals and losing to 2017 finalists Etoile Sportive Rades of Tunisia.
Gombwer couldn’t hide his excitement while speaking with www.aclsports.com
“I feel very great and very happy about qualifying out of the group. I shed tears of joy that day I never knew as a coach that I will get to that level. It was a dream come true for me and my players. It was our plan to get out of that group successfully which we did.
Gombwer is confident his team can upset the defending champions when they host them on Saturday, March 30th in Abuja.
“Honestly I don’t underestimate teams but we won’t give up. The team we are playing against are the defending champions. I still see myself pulling out of it successfully in this first round in Abuja. I have been studying them,” Gombwer said.
“Just like the last time, people wrote us off and said we will go and come back empty handed but I believe with hard work and with God we will qualify. Though, I know they also serve God too but the determination we have is high and we can pull up a surprise in Abuja I don’t know about the return leg in Morocco,” he said.
The Defenders boss reflected on how his team got to the Elite 8 despite not being the favourites to do so.
“Look at how we got here. We went to Bauchi and came 5th out of 8th and they told us to play abridge league to qualify, we went and qualified. Got to Cotonou and made it to the Group stage and again we qualified to the next round so I believe God is behind us and will make us scale through.
Gombwer intends to keep fate with the same roster he used during the Group stage.
“I won’t be adding anyone to the squad though I had issues with height in the last round but I think I’ll just stick with what I have. The big man I would have brought in is injured and not sure he can face the heat he is still recuperating,” Gombwer concluded.
The game between Civil Defenders Basketball Club and defending champions AS Sale of Morocco will hold at the indoor sports hall of the National Stadium Abuja at 3:30pm on Saturday.