The big stage is set as the 9th edition of the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League semi-finals pairing holds Thursday at the sports hall of the nationals stadium, Surulere, Lagos with defending champion First Deepwater basketball club set to clip the wings of the ‘Angels’ Sunshine basketball club of Akure.
The semi-finals clash between the champion and Sunshine Angels bid for3pm at the national stadium promises to be explosive against the backdrop that it will be the third time that both sides would be meeting this season with First Deepwater having the upper hands in the first two occasions during the regular season held in Abuja (First Deepwater 56-44 Sunshine Angels) and Asaba (First Deepwater 94-58 Sunshine Angels) which makes the semi-finals duel between the two sides to be an interesting game to watch.
Head coach of First Deepwater basketball Lateef Erinfolami is confident his girls have what it takes to book a grand finale ticket at the expense of the Akure-based Angels who will be searching for their first title since the inception of the league nine years ago.
Coach Erinfolami who was appointed as an assistant coach of the nation senior women national team believed Sunshine Angels can’t stop the Oil & Gas ladies ambition of booking a continental ticket reserved for the finalist of the league.
The Oil & Gas side was formed in 2008 and joined the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) organized women league in 2009 and finished second behind former champion First Bank basketball club went on to win the FIBA Africa Zone-III Champions Cup elimination held in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire also in 2009 and finished seventh overall on the continent.
The team won her first domestic title in 2010 to date and also finished third at the Africa Champions Cup in 2011 which it hosted.
“We are set for every opposition in this year’s league as we are focus to remain champion for a fourth consecutive time and our semi-final game against Sunshine Angels on Thursday will be treated like every other games we’ve played so far but with more seriousness as the semi-final is the most crucial stage of any competition because a win will guaranty a grand finale and continental ticket, Coach Erinfolami concluded.
The second semi-final will be between First Bank basketball club and Dolphins basketball club at 5.00pm also on Thursday.
First Bank who led group-B and has maintained unbeaten run from the preliminary round just like First Deepwater have defeated Dolphins in two previous meeting during the regular season held in Abuja (First Bank-83-63) and Asaba (First Bank 74-56 Dolphins) is in desperate move to reclaim the league title it lost to First Deepwater basketball club.
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers)
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