Rivers Hoopers Coach, Ogoh Odaudu, says he is excited with his leadership of the Atlantic Conference teams at the ongoing 2017 Kwese Premier Basketball League (KPBL) All Star Weekend game in Kano.
Odaudu made the assertion in a statement by Queen John, the club’s Media Officer in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The statement said that though the Atlantic Conference selected side lost to Savannah Conference 106-115, he had fun with the game in Kano on June 17.
“It was great being at the All Star teams again. I’ve not been there for a couple of years so it was fun.
“We had fun out there even though we lost, it was still fun, and this is my fourth appearance at the All Star Weekend game as a coach,’’ it said.
It added that Odaudu believed that the disparity in the quality of players in the Savannah and the Atlantic Conference led to his team’s loss.
“The result showed that Savannah had better players than us in the Atlantic Conference and with home court advantage.
“The person who won the dunk, dunked better, the person who won the three points shot made more baskets than people from our side, so everything worked in their favour.
“Don’t forget they were playing in the core north; they are at home, headquarters of basketball so they didn’t want to give up anything for us, but all in all it was good.
“The Benue-born gaffer thinks his Hoopers players had an outstanding game and would have easily been crowned the Most Valuable Player of the game if they had won,’’ it added.
According to the statement, Hoopers’ Solomon Ajegbeyi took his impressive form into the All Star Weekend game with another double-double performance, scoring 28 points and 15 rebounds while Emmanuel Balogun contributed 17 points and 2 assists.
“Emmanuel Balogun and Solomon Ajegbeyi stood out, and if we had won the All Star game, one of the two would have won the Most Valuable Player (MVP).
“Even without a prize given, it was fun, the crowd had fun, it was interesting, it was intense, it was just a 9 points game you could see it was very close.
“And not a normal blow out where they blow 15, 20 points. It was just 9 points and it was fun for everybody,’’ the statement said.
It quoted Odaudu as saying: “The result of the All Star Weekend will not be a reflection of the 2017 KPBL final.
“I don’t think it will be like that, it won’t be dominated by the north, and there are a couple of teams that will give Savannah a lot of fight’’.
‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’
Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.
Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August
The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.
S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo
John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.
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