LAGOS (FIBA Africa Champions Cup 2016) - For the very first time since the Nigeria Customs Basketball Club entered the Nigeria Premier Basketball League, going to the continental final has remained a mirage but not anymore.
In fact, going by the hassles the team went through to make it to Lome, head coach, Scott Nnaji and his wards were not counted among the best two. But the team made up of experienced players like Abdulrahman Mohammed, Baba Jubril, Zana Mohammed and Musa Usman proved that they could turn the tide alongside the young players in the team.
Having qualified for the Cairo showpiece ahead of Elan Sportif of Benin, Modele of Togo, ASPAC of Benin and AS NIGELEC of Niger, the reality has dawned on them and the task ahead will be no joke.
Nnaji, an experienced national team coach says there is no need to fear as he is already ringing changes in the team.
“Being in the final round of the African Champions Cup means a lot for us as a team. It’s our first time. No one gave the Nigeria Customs team a chance to be in the finals of the Nigeria national league and here we are in the final round of the continental championship.
“After the qualifiers in Lome, we looked at the team and decided to make adjustments in areas where we believe we need to tighten up. We’ll be adding two or three more players to ensure that we have a team that can compete effectively. ”
The Customs team in Egypt will have a tall hurdle facing the big teams from the host, Angola and Kano Pillars. The opposition does not scare Nnaji who admits that these teams may be better than his in terms of preparations but insists that they are beatable.
“The Angolan and Egyptian clubs may be better in terms of preparations and their league but I don’t think we need to lose sleep over them. Kano Pillars have been long on the continent and there’s a lot for us to learn from them. We’ll play every team they way they come and do our best to make an impact.”
One snag however is that the club is still shopping for funds, a situation which may affect their participation. Nnaji and his wards remain confident that the desired approval will be made at the end of the day.