Ahmed sure of retaining title, Customs face uphill task

Kano Pillars believe they have the quality to retain their title despite the early hiccups they experienced in their opening game against Elan Sportif de Porto Novo at the on-going FIBA-Africa Zone Three Club Championship in Lome, Togo.

The defending champions had problems defending against their smaller opponents in the game, but their experience saw them through to a 90-75 win.

Relieved that his team won the game, Coach Ahmed Sanni said his wards have to improve on defence if they hoped to retain the title.

“We are happy we won the opening game, but it was very difficult.  We allowed a lot of fast breaks from our smaller and quicker opponents. At the end, it was experience that saw us through, but we will do better in subsequent games,” Sanni added.

He questioned some of the calls made by the referee, saying it was clear the arbiters were out to help certain teams in the competition. “Some of the calls were wrong and I wondered what the referees were up to. I must tell them that there is no need helping any team because we all want the best team to represent the zone at the final in Egypt in December. And we can only get the best to represent the zone if the referees remained neutral and do well.”

While Kano Pillars have started on a winning note, another Nigerian team, Customs, have hit a rough patch after two of their key players were left out in their opening loss (51-70) to ASPAC of Benin Republic.

Both players’ clearances are yet to arrive, which has affected the team’s rotation, a situation coach Scott Nnaji said has put his team in a difficult situation.

He, however, assured that they will remain competitive despite the problem

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Ahmed SanniFIBAKano Pillars

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