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Pillars Target Retaining Basketball Title

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As the 2013/2014 DStv/
Men’s Premier Basketball League dunks-off on Friday, the question on the lips of fans is, can Kano Pillars retain the title for a second consecutive season?
Pillars had defeated Union Bank Club of Lagos 86-75 on the last day of the National Final Four Championship held in Lagos to emerge winners of last season.
Penultimate to the National Final Four, the club was indomitable in the Savannah Conference, winning all its matches in the 2012/2013 regular season.
As a result of their impressive run, fans branded them “The Invincible” and were rewarded hugely by the Kano State Government after winning the Final Four.
The National Final Four ended with Pillars defeating Dodan Warriors and Union Bank and losing one to Savannah Conference rivals Mark Mentors of Abuja.
Pillars Head Coach, Ahmed Sani told newsmen that their objective was to retain the title they won in September 2013 as he previewed the coming season.
“We are confident of ourselves and we are prepared for any challenge any opposition brings, we are going to take one game at a time.
“We don’t underrate any team but we know we have the best players the league can boast of though some players left us, nevertheless, we have re-enforced those areas.
“Our players are also properly motivated, they get their salaries and their bonuses regularly and what is more is that they are united,” Sani said.
A Union Bank veteran player, Obum Onyia, said that Pillars were a force to reckon with because of the team’s chemistry which they had built for the past four years.
“Pillars have a team that has been together for some time now, they are a very good side, and nevertheless we are prepared to tackle any team for the trophy.
“I believe in my team, especially in the younger players we recruited. They have the energy and bring more strength to the team to deliver the goods,” Onyia said.
Union Bank Coach, Johnson Ayinla whose team fell to Pillars on last season’s final day, said he was confident they would emerge champions of the 2013/2014 season.
According to Ayinla, the club’s management has empowered the team to ensure that they achieve their target for the season.
“We are prepared than ever before, we are not troubled about what other teams have because we know our strength and we know we are better equipped than last season.
“Our players are level headed; they are disciplined and ready to do what is expected of them. We are well organised and confident of ourselves,” he said.
In the same vein, Lagos Islanders Coach, Lateef Erinfolami, expressed optimism toward emerging champions of the coming season, adding that it was the club’s sole objective.
“We want to win the title, it’s our target, and we are not going into the season just to play but specifically set our aim on the league’s trophy.
“It’s going to be a great battle from the jump-ball date, we have assured our fans that we will not let them down,’’ Erinfolami said.
The Proprietor, Dodan Warriors of Lagos, Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd), said the club’s position was not necessarily to win the league but to put up a first class performance.
“We are an institution that trains and nurtures young players to top class athletes.
“We have four players who are currently on scholarships in the US through their last season’s performances.
“Our players for the coming season are ready psychologically and prepared to compete favourably,” he said.
According to the fixtures provided by the Nigeria Basketball Federations (NBBF), Union Bank will play Kwara Falcons on March 7 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.
This season’s format provided by NBBF will have first four clubs qualifying from each of the two conferences for the Final Eight to determine the 2013/2014 champions.
The regular season is expected to end in June after 15 weeks of matches may have been concluded in the two conferences.

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Rivers International Marathon To Celebrate Fubara’s One Year

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Former Nigeria international goalkeeper, Peterside Idah says next month’s Rivers International Marathon will be used to celebrate the one year anniversary of His Excellency,  Siminalayi Fubara as the Executive Governor of Rivers State.           Idah, who is the race’s head of media and communications said the event could not have been better timed and organizers have keyed it into the one year celebration of Governor  Fubara’s tenure.       “We want to use this race to celebrate the one year anniversary of our Governor, Fubara who is the main reason Rivers State has been officially termed as the sports hub of the nation by John Enoh, the Minister of Sports Development,” Ida said. Continuing, Idah revealed that the Rivers International Marathon has received massive backing from Governor Fubara as well as corporate Nigeria.        “Governor Fubara is the biggest supporter of the race and we are determined to organise a race befitting the status of Rivers state as the new destination of sort for sports in Nigeria,” Idah stated, adding two financial institutions have thrown their weight behind the race.    “Globus and Zenith bank are backing us as partners and this shows that corporate Nigeria is appreciating the giant strides we have taken in terms of sports development and the many benefits that come with organizing a road race.

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BAL : Rivers Hoopers Arrive Rwanda, Attend Playoff

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Nigeria’s representatives at the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL), Rivers Hoopers on Sunday landed in Kigali, Rwanda ahead of the competition which dunks off on May 24th .
The Tidesports source hinted: “The KingsMen have arrived in Kigali, Rwanda for the Playoffs. Dakar was good, Kigali be great.”
The KingsMen will face AS Douanes of Senegal in one of the four seeding games in the playoffs in Kigali on May 24th.
The two teams played against each other twice in the Sahara Conference that ended last week in Dakar, Senegal with each winning one game apiece.
The winner between Hoopers and AS Douanes (Game 40) will play against the winner between Petro de Luanda (Angola) and US Monastir of Tunisia (Game 39) in the semi-final, while the loser of the tie will square up against the loser of Game 39 in the quarter final.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s hip-hop star, Adekunle Kosoko aka Adekunle Gold and AG Baby, are among the list of top celebrities who will perform at the 2024 African Basketball League playoffs in Kigali.
The finals usually attract top celebrities from both the sports and music community And this time around, BAL 4 playoffs will feature performances by local and international acts, including the likes of Nigeria’s Adekunle Gold and Rwanda’s very own The Ben, Chris Eazy, Ish Kevin, Kevin Kade, Ariel Wayz, Kivumbi King, Bwiza, Ishami Talent, Inganzi Ngari cultural troupe and Kenny Sol.
The selected artists will perform during the halftime shows of the finals. Globally with special performances to spice up the halftime show atmosphere.

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WAFU U-17: Togo, Nigeria Clash Must-Win For Garba

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Golden Eaglets head coach, Manu Garba, is leaving no margin for errors in ensuring the team beat Togo today in their second Group B match of the WAFU Zone B U-17 Cup of Nations in Ghana.The record five-time world champions made a stuttering start to their campaign with a barren draw against Burkina Faso at the University of Ghana on Thursday, but boosted their title defence with a 1-0 win over Niger Republic on Sunday at same venue, with Raphael Adams’ 31st-minute strike separating both sides.
Nigeria are second in the group with four points, the same as Burkina Faso, who have their nose in front on a superior goal difference. Garba looks to finish at the top of the pile and has declared their last group game against the young Hawks another must-win.
“The Golden Eaglets will have to beat Togo on today. The Togo U-17 team is good, and Nigeria will not underrate them,” Garba saider Alleged N8bn Air Fraud, Food PricOthers
“We have trained the players on goal-scoring drills. Nigeria should have scored three goals against Niger. So, we hope that the players will convert more of their chances against Togo,” he added.
Niger are in the third position with three points from their 3-2 win over Togo, who, though rock bottom, are not pushovers but largely undone by errors.
The tournament, running from May 15 to 29, will see the top two teams from the group facing the best teams from Group A, which includes Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Benin Republic, in the semi-final.
The two countries that qualify for the final will represent the region at next year’s U-17 African Cup of Nations.

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