Captain of Civil Defenders basketball club of Abuja, Joel Ijigba is confident inexperience won’t count against his team when hostilities begin in Group B of the FIBA Africa Basketball League.
Debutants Civil Defenders will square off against Elan Sportif, BC Terreur and 2017 continental finalists ES Rades of Tunisia.
Reacting to the draws which took place last weekend in Abidjan, Ijigba said: The only team we are familiar with is Elan we beat them at the qualifiers in Contonou but that does not mean we are underrating them. We have not played against other teams in the group so we are not familiar with them.”
Ijigba told ACLSports.com his team fear no foe and would do their best in their first outing on the continent.
“It is a new experience playing at this level because it used to be just the league we participate in. My team is not scared of any team we are preparing and making sure we leave no stone unturned getting their video clips, study them, know their players too. Though, we understand they may beef up their squad so not all the players that took part in the qualifiers will be at this tournament.”
“I don’t think inexperience will play a role against us it’s basketball,” Ijigba said.
“If we put our heads together and do what we are supposed to do we will come out successful. We are all professional basketball players and I don’t think any of my teammates is scared of any team.”
Civil Defenders finished with a 4-1 record with their only loss against Rivers Hoopers at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Qualifiers in Contonou last December.
“Our chances are high playing at this level. We did our best to be here so we will do our best to qualify for the elite 8.
“Our target is to play at the finals which is the last stage and possibly lift the championship.”
The former Bauchi Nets guard wants to consolidate on his zone 3 performance by emerging the tournament MVP. Ijigba helped his team finish second and was named in the top 5 in Cotonou.
“It was a wonderful experience playing against other teams from Africa, new set of players, different environment etc. As a player, one is to help my team get to that level which my team desire, step up my game to do better than I did in zone 3 championship and finally to emerge as the MVP of the championship.”