Customs men basketball team are praying and hoping that they are able to make the trip to Egypt next month for the final playoffs of the African men’s club championship. The competition is billed to hold in Egypt from December 7 to 15.
A member of the Customs squad who spoke with our reporter on the condition of anonymity said the players are still not certain if they will be in the North African country with barely two weeks for the teams to arrive in Cairo.
He said, “We are training as a group but I am not sure that everyone in the team now believes that we will make the African final. We are encouraging the players to have faith and believe that everything is possible given the way we made the trip to Lome, Togo for the Zone Three qualifiers. Then it looked like we were never going to travel but we still made it at the last moment and we returned to the country with a ticket to the continental final.”
He explained that communication hitches in Abuja created the situation for the team based in Lagos. “The explanation given to our Comptroller in Abuja was that we qualified to represent Nigeria and so we were congratulated with the expectation that the sports ministry would take over from there as we were going to fly the country’s flag. A correction has been made to that misunderstanding and we are now praying that we are able to get the funds early enough before it becomes too late for the jump ball.”
Our checks on the teams’ record proved that the team which finished second behind Kano Pillars in the West African zonal playoffs also arrived in Togo last month with insufficient funding and it took last minute effort to save the Customs and Nigeria embarrassment as the team registered for the qualifiers at deadline hour set by FIBA Africa Zone Three officials.
The Customs men are playing their first continental competition after finishing second in the DStv Nigerian league behind the Pillars.