Gombe Bulls coach, Abdulrahman Mohammed believes it is not over yet for his team. Bulls finished second in the regular Kwese Premier League Season but lost their two games to defending champions Kano Pillars and Niger Potters in the ongoing Savannah Conference Six play-offs going on in Kaduna.
Speaking on the chances of his team which lost on Monday to Kano Pillars 97-104 points and another loss by one point 105-106 to a hard fighting Niger Potters of Minna in a thrilling neck-to-neck encounter, he said at this stage qualification for the Final Eight in Kano is their basic resolve. “We have not lost hope at all. We still have the chance of qualification for the last 8 even though we may have to take the difficult route. All we need to do now is to make sure we win our three remaining games against Kada Stars on thursday, Plateau Peaks on Friday and Bauchi Net on Saturday. I know the remaining games will not be easy because teams like Kada Stars and Plateau Peaks will want to impress and prove a point against us, but we are ready and have put behind the loses.”
The former national team captain also said it is better that these loses happened at the final six stage rather than the final. “I am happy the loses came at this stage, had it been during the the final eight, we would have been out of contention. The fixtures also are a bit not favorable to us because as a team that came second in the regular season it is unfair to pitch us in early games against top sides like Kano Pillars and Niger Potters knowing that first wins boosts players’ confidence. The ideal thing would have been to start with weaker teams and then progress.”
Mohammed who was part of the 2015 Afrobasket coaching crew that won the trophy after 50 years decried the poor motivation of his players by the management team in the Conference Six. “Painfully, we are the least motivated team in this tournament. Agreed, the state government makes sure the players are not owed salaries during the regular season but coming to championship of this magnitude goes beyond having good player and regular salaries, there must be other encouraging incentives like winning bonuses and additional allowances to give the players extra motivation. Constant salaries I must say are not enough there is need for something extra.” He said.
Meanwhile, Wisdom Prince, Niger Potters’ point guard who put up a splendid performance with five 3 points throws to help his team beat rivals Gombe Bulls in the 106-105 win has attributed the win to their hard fighting spirit. “We had to keep fighting and it paid off. We played with so much belief and never game up. We gingered ourselves to fight back each time we were trailing.”
The game which ran neck-to-neck with fans standing on their toes saw Prince scoring the match winner three points shot and ending the game with 26 points with Sabo Gabriel leading score with 29 points finish, Gideon Omokudu 21 points and Umar Alhaji with 20 points.
“We are in Kaduna to win and qualify for the Final 8. This is my first season in the premier league and it is a dream come true for me. For me, my dream is to play continental with Potters.”
Potters with two wins against Bauchi Net and Gombe Bulls will Thursday face Plateau Peaks.
Kada Stars vs Gombe Bulls
Plateau Peaks vs Niger Potters
Bauchi Nets vs kano Pillars