As we countdown to
the 2016 Division 1 Championship, teams are beginning to prepare the best way
they can. The Osun State basketball team (OS Lions) started with the usual
ritual - a plea to sport lovers and philanthropist to sponsor their trip to the
championship scheduled to tip off on the 16th of November in Abuja.
Coach Ayo Bakare earlier this month, sensitised all players who played for Comets Basketball Team last year or other players who would love to, to stand by for further information as regards representing the team this year. Comets came very close to clinching the Atlantic Conference DSTV PBL ticket at last year's Division 1 Championship but Rivers Hoopers were better. Will this year be Comets' year?
Olumide Oyedeji's Hoops & Read will return to the Division 1 this year having missed last year's championship. They have started preparing by inviting young aspiring basketball players for tryout at the Lagos State Sports Complex (Rowe Park), Yaba. The Raptors Basketball Team practice all year round, so it is safe to assume that they are well prepared for the tournament.
We are not so sure if the commissioning of a new basketball upright at the Nigerian AIrforce Base in Markurdi is an indication of the return of the NAF Base Hawks to the championship. But we should expect proper representation from Benue State - APA Flames and Benue Braves.
Will the winners of the Abuja City League - The Civil Defenders - participate in the 2016 Division 1 Championship? Will they seek an opportunity to play on a bigger platform - The DSTV PBL? Will the Police Baton and FCT Rocks fight a chance of return? If Police Baton does, will we have two Police teams in the Championship - Police Bombers and Police Baton - or will they be merged into Police 2.0?
Niger Potter at the Division 1 Championship
Although, there have been appeals from several corners - formal, informal, personal - to the Nigeria Basketball League to recall the teams banned last year for their affiliation with the ABL - Lagos (Dodan) Warriors, Stallion Basketball (Union Bank) and Lagos Islanders - to the DSTV PBL, no official statement has been released by the NBBF on this. However, if we take the invitation letter sent by the NBBF to various teams as a communication of its intention, it does not look like three teams will be recalled. At least, not through the Division 1 Championship.
If the three teams are not recalled to the Premier Basketball League, three slots will be available for Atlantic Conference teams in the PBL. Will this make the 2016 Division 1 Championship more interesting or do we risk a further drop in the quality of basketball in the Atlantic Conference of the DSTV Premier Basketball League?
As we countdown to the 2016 Division 1 Champions; let the preparation begins, let the questions pile up and let the anticipation and excitement build up.