The inclusion of three leading Nigerian female basketball stars, Aisha Mohammed, Sarah Ogoke and Cecilia Okoye in the First Bank roster at the ongoing FIBA Africa Women’s Basketball Clubs Champions Cup in Maputo has been fingered as one of the reasons the team is doing well.
This was the verdict of assistant coach, Chris Okoh, but he admitted that their presence will not necessarily give the Nigerian female basketball league champions the title.
While acknowledging that the trio are good and add quality to the squad, Okoh stressed that they will prove an edge in the championship unless the other players also step up.
The Elephant Girls are two games away from reaching a fourth final with an impressive 4-0 run in the group phase, but Okoh is charging them for more efforts.
Speaking ahead of the team’s quarter-final match against FAP Basketball of Cameroon on Friday, Okoh says the FIBA Women’s World Cup stars are are not as fit as they were in Spain.
“Okoh stated: ‘We are happy with the players we have brought in to shore up our team. They have contributed in taking us this far, but we cannot afford to relax.
“Things will get tougher as we go further in the competition, and that is when fitness issues will crop in.
“However, the team is gradually building cohesion and we are focused on the objective of winning a third championship since 2009.”