LUANDA (FIBA Africa Champions Cup Women 2017) - Kenyan champions Equity Hawks face a tall order when they commence their continental journey against two-time African champions First Bank of Nigeria on Saturday in the opening Group A game of the FIBA Africa Champions Cup Women 2017.
"This being our first game, we are totally taking it seriously. We have never played against them. As much as some of us have been here before, it is a different thing when you are playing with another team," Hilda Luvandwa said.
Luvandwa and Mjomba have competed at this level before with Kenyan sides USIU and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and it is this experience that they will be looking to build on in a bid to begin the continental tournament on a strong note.
Speaking to FIBA.basketball, Luvandwa said, "This being our first game, we are totally taking it seriously. We have never played against them. As much as some of us have been here before, it is a different thing when you are playing with another team."
David Maina's outfit comes into this tie as the underdogs, a position that perhaps takes pressure away from his squad and onto First Bank who are eyeing a place in the Final ultimately.
The two-time African champions who finished third at last year's edition will be banking on the AfroBasket winning quartet of Chioma Udeaja, Cecilia Okoye, Ugochi Nicole Nwaigwe and the in-form Nkechi Akashili who is fresh from winning gold at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup in Lome, Togo last weekend.
With a star-studded squad, the Nigerian side have indicated that starting on the right note in their opener will go a long way in setting the tone for the tournament.
Veteran Chioma Udeaja told FIBA.basketball that, "It is very important for us to win our first game. We are going to do what we know how to do best. We shall come out hard and we do not care if it is their first game at this level."
In the second game of the day, the reigning champions Inter Clube will take on GS Petroliers of Algeria in a battle to establish a good footing in Group A early on at Africa's flagship event for women's clubs.