Americans hit Lagos for Continental Basketball League

Pius Ayinor

This week has been a very busy one for the organisers of the Continental Basketball League as players billed for the competition began arriving in Lagos as from Monday.

Following the first arrival of a few of the players on Monday, 12 of the players touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from the USA on Wednesday afternoon aboard a Delta Airlines flight. More players were expected to land with a late flight also on Wednesday.

Among those that came into town aboard that Delta flight are George Thomas – an American from California and Olatunji Olalekan Graham, a Nigerian-American based in Houston. Thomas is making his first trip to Nigeria unlike Olatunji who last visited the country about 16 years ago.

“I have friends from here (Nigeria),” Thomas told on arrival “But nothing like the experience of being here where they come from.”

He will play for Lagos City Stars and hopes to return to California with his hands on the trophy. But he’s not the only one hoping to win the event and his teammate Olatunji is also thinking in that line.

He said, “I really want to win. I want to play, win and have lots of fun here.”

The competition better known as CBL evolved from African Basketball League as it was organised last year. The CBL jump ball will be taken at 7pm local time on Friday at the reworked Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Six teams from four countries will feature in the month-long tournament. The teams are Lagos City Warriors, Eko Kings and Lagos Warriors (Nigeria); Yaoundé Giants (Cameroon), Abidjan Raiders (Ivory Coast) and Libreville Izobe Dragons (Gabon).

The competition will start in Lagos move to Yaoundé before making a return to Lagos. The playoffs weekend will hold in the first week of June in Libreville.