General manager of Rivers Hoopers basketball club, Ifie Ozaka, has made known to ACLSports.com that Rivers Hoopers have declared its intention to host the first phase of the FIBA AfroLeague starting in January 2019.
The first phase which will involve four groups of four teams will be played between January 11 and February 3. Group A will be played between January 11-13, Group B January 18-20, Group C January 25-27 and Group D February 1-3. All games to be played in a round robin format with the top 2 teams from each of the 4 groups advancing to the top 8.
Ozaka said, “we would like to host it hoping FIBA will give us the hosting right for the group phase. I am still expecting the official letter of our participation from FIBA so we can now send our bid to them. We also hope to get support from our sponsors, the Rivers State Government and lovers of basketball when it’s time to participate in the AfroLeague.”
Ozaka is confident his team has enough quality to challenge for a spot in the last 8.
“My realistic target is to qualify for the last 8 of the AfroLeague. I believe we have the players to help us achieve that. At the beginning of 2018 when we went out to recruit the couple of players we wanted and I think we made very good choices in the transfer market . The players we brought in filled the gaps properly,” he told ACLSports.com
All fifteen qualified teams that will be drawn into four groups of four are now complete https://www.aclsports.com/nigerias-representatives-know-fiba-afroleague-opponents-december
“Based on teams that have qualified they are established teams, big teams who are better sponsored and have played so many games with established players. But I want to believe that outside those big teams we stand a chance springing up a surprise from the zone we are going to play against. I was told that they are going to pair two zones in one group like zone 3 and another one in the first window. So I am thinking we can qualify from there to the last 8 and by the time we meet the big teams we will take from there.”