17 November 2006
NIGERIA : We will not let Nigeria down Peaks coach boast
The head coach of the Nigerian champion, Plateau Peaks, Austin Gompil says his lads are up to the challenge of the 21st FIBA Africa Champions Cup for Men, which starts in Lagos on Friday.
The Peaks has impressed at home and abroad in the past 12 months, culminating in its victory in the 2006 Vmobile Premier Basketball League and the qualifiers for the Champions Cup in Abidjan, and Gompil says the lads want to continue on that upward trajectory.
“We’re here to win the Champions Cup,” Gompil said on Thursday after his team’s arrival from its Jos base. “With the kind of training we went through, I’m sure the title is ours.”
Although Plateau, just like the host team, Dodan Warriors is making its debut in Africa, butGompil says he has the players to do well.
“We (the Peaks and the Warriors) will not let Nigerians down,” he said. “The Warriors are a good team too.
“We know it’s a big task ahead of us but we’re determined to do well.”
Gompil said he expected the toughest opposition to come from the Angolan teams who will be paraded some of the most tested players in the championship.
To mitigate Plateau’s inexperience on the continent, Gompil said he had a team keeping tabs on the teams in the finals, which are holding from November 17 through 26.
There had been fears over the participation of the Peaks because of the impeachment of Joshua Dariye on Monday as the governor of Plateau State.
The Peaks will feature the likes of Jeffrey Lohor, Kelvin Nambam, Stanley Gumut, Chidozie Nwoye, Abubakar Usman and Femi Emmanuel in the competition.
As at Thursday, 11 of the 12 teams in the finals have either arrived or schedule to arrive for Africa’s biggest club basketball tournament, this leaves only Onatra Kauka of Congo DR as the team the organisers are expecting.
“I’m sure they will come in before deadline day,” said Sam Ahmedu, the Chaiman of the tournament Main Organising Committee and Coordinator of Dodan Warriors.
The teams scheduled to arrive on Thursday are ABC, Zenith and Africa Sports, all from Ivory Coast; Primero Agosto of Angola; and BACK of Guinea.
Ahead of the pre-match meeting on Friday, a host of high profile musicians like Tu Face, Black Face and Sound Sultan, will perform at the opening ceremony in the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos