The Management of Novena Heartland Basketball Club of Owerri is considering to go for a Centre and Shooting Guard, who are Americans, but of Nigerian descent to fortify the team ahead of Round of 16 phase of the 2022 Mark D Ball Men’s Basketball Championship, to be staged in Abuja.
CEO & Proprietor of the club, Osita Nwachukwu stated this while revising the side’s performance, in the last qualifying phase of the Championship, which he said was the biggest tournament, his players have been exposed to.
• The Novena Heartland Men’s Basketball team in group photograph
Nwachukwu, who is a Factional NBBF Vice president, also hinted that the decision followed his determination to contest the coveted title.
“I may go go for a Centre and Shooting Guard, who are Americans, but of Nigerian descent to fortify the team ahead of Round of 16 phase of the 2022 Mark D Ball Men’s Basketball Championship, to be staged in Abuja.
“I also own Novena Queens, which is the women’s team. Through both teams in Owerri and Abakiliki, we have discovered a good number of talents in the South East. But coming to play in Abuja was a good step up. It gave the guys good exposure.
“Under the watch of Igoche Mark, the NBBF has resolved never to allow the domestic aspect of our basketball to suffer from inactivity, any more,” Osita Nwachukwu said.
Speaking with Page3news.com.ng, captain of Novena Heartland, Chinedu Precious Asogwo rated his side’s participation at the preliminary phase of Mark D Ball, as the toughest competition the side has played in.
The 15-year old who stands at 6ft 5 Inches, also assured that they will work on their strength and stamina, while consolidating on the strong points that aided their qualification to the Round of 16.
“I train Novena Heartland in both its Camp in Owerri and Abakaliki, where I also assist my father in his Pharmacy Store. We had just three weeks to prepare, and during that time, I was down with food poisoning, and thought I won’t be able to make the team. But because Basketball is all I have for now, somehow I recovered, and was selected to lead the team”.
Having been hired last year, Coach Achu Kingsley Kelechi said his passion lies with working with relatively unknown players, and it gives him joy to help nurture them to stardom.
According to him, he shuttles between Owerri and Abakaliki, where the team operates two training camps.
He also reserved special praise for the CEO Mr Nwachukwu for being very supportive and doing his best to prioritise the welfare of the players, while giving them the much needed exposure, and career opportunities.
“My confidence that we will cope very well in the next phase of the championship, stems from the confidence of my players, who told me when we were to embark on this trip, that competing against elite players and beating the big boys will be fun”.
Darlington Marvelous Chukwuebuka, the Shooting Guard who scooped the award of MVP in the team’s last match, also echoed the untiring efforts of Mr Nwachukwu, whom he said has done a lot to promote and popularise Basketball, in the South East.
“Until this Mark D Ball championship, we did not have much to train for; this tournament exposed us to the real thing and we appreciate our CEO for what he is doing to advance the fortunes of basketball in the whole of South East.
“Personally, I have a lot of mentors in and outside Nigeria, and I’m determined to make the most of the opportunities”.
According to the AICE Owerri undergraduate, he is happy for the opportunity to play for Novena Heartland, and hopes to use the platform, to achieve his goal of playing at the top level, at home and abroad, as a professional.
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