The General Manager of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club in Port Harcourt, Ifie Ozaka, has assured Nigerians that they will see a different team at the 2024 edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Recall that the Kingsmen secured the ticket as Nigeria's sole representative at the 2024 edition of the BAL after emerging as champions of the 2023 Premier Basketball League.
According to Ozaka, Rivers Hoopers will commence early preparations by opening camp in January and acquiring the services of players from outside the country to strengthen the team.
Ozaka, expressing optimism that the state government will allocate funds for proper preparations, revealed that plans are underway to travel abroad to play friendly matches ahead of the 2024 edition of the BAL.
"The year is kicking off for us with the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which we are preparing for. We are still waiting on the BAL to know the specific venue and dates for our matches, and that is what we are preparing for at the moment.
"With respect to the local league, which is the premier league in Nigeria, we are also gearing up for that and acquiring one or two players to fill in spaces where needed. We want to win the league again this year.
"We are going to see a very different Rivers Hoopers team playing in the BAL this year because the major plan we have is to start preparing early. Before the end of January, we will get into camp and start training early.
"We are going to get players from outside Nigeria because the BAL allows you to bring in seven players from outside the country to add to what you have.
"We will get the players early to be part of our training system so that they can get used to each other because basketball is a team sport.
"I believe we are going to do way better than we did in our last outing in the BAL.
"We are hoping soon that the governor will host us to congratulate us for winning the league.
"One thing we are hoping to get from the state government is a bus, and then we believe that the governor and the sports commissioner are going to do their part towards our preparations for the BAL because it's going to be a tedious preparation.
"It won't just be in Port Harcourt; we are going to travel outside Nigeria to play friendly matches with teams at that level that we will face at the BAL. So, all these things are very necessary for us to have a proper outing.
"We believe that the governor and the sports commissioner will make funds available for us to make these trips and prepare properly for the BAL."