By Jacob Ajom
Owner of First Deepwater Basketball Club of Lagos, Babatunde Babalola has refused to be cowed by the task ahead of his wards when the continental campaign begins in a few months. Babalola who expressed surprise over the second place finish achieved by the club in the just concluded Zenith Bank Women Basketball League in Lagos said that his club had hosted Africa. More gratifying to the club owner was the continental ticket the club bagged for their effort, saying, “I never expected we would come this far.”
Speaking in Lagos after his team lost in the final to perennial rivals, First Bank Basketball club also of Lagos, Babalola said, “we have nothing to be ashamed of. These are girls who are operating under not too very satisfactory conditions. For the fact that our parent company is passing through very challenging times, it means they are not getting the kind of budget they have been used to. Despite that, they were able to make it to the final; after playing the likes of Dolphins, AHIP, Delta Force – teams with better financial muscle.
“In sports finance is key. This is a team that we used to spend over N20m per season but this year we spent less than N5m and they are able to get to the final, I am happy, I am satisfied.”
Babalola said that before the team begins her continental campaign, there will be new introductions as they plan to strengthen the team.
“Definitely, we should inject more mature players into the team. We need to combine experience and youth before we go to the continent because we would be representing Nigeria. But we are not new to the continent. We have been there before as we have hosted the continent as a club and placed third. We are not afraid of going continental
“As for the new season, we are going to keep this squad. We like to groom young players and we want to elicit from them a sense of loyalty because we have to encourage them and get involved in their personal development. Next year, there has to be an improvement in our finances and hope to keep them all here.”