Amid the leadership crisis in the Liberia Basketball Association which has denied over 1,000 youths to play the country’s second popular sports since the resumption of sporting activities after the ‘end-of-transmission’ of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, basketball giant, LPRC Oilers is in intensive training to ably represent the country in the FIBA-Afrique’s Zone 3 qualifiers.
The Zone 3 Qualifiers is scheduled from Saturday, November 7 to Sunday, November 15, in Ivory Coast.
LPRC Oilers team has begun training – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4:30pm.
According to Deputy Head Coach T. Ignatius Moore, the 13 member playing team includes Ben Dixon (Guard), Jethro Bing (Small Forward), Reuben Marshall (Guard), Mouta Toure (Power Forward), Alex Nagbo (Guard), and George Pennoh (Power Forward).
Others are Keith Wluh (Power Forward), Samuel Davidson (Guard), Clarence Davies (Guard), Choko Lee (Guard), Mohammed Kromah (Small Forward), John Bing (Power Forward) and Samuel Kpanie (Guard).
The head coach of LPRC Oilers is Paul Houlsen.
The vice president of the LPRC Oilers basketball team, Edward J. Harris, who is popularly called “Eddie” said the intensive practice is aimed to set another history again as it may be recalled that in 2013, LPRC Oilers became the first Liberian basketball team to play in the FIBA Africa Club Championship finals in Sousse, Tunisia.
ArcelorMittal Liberia sponsored the trip, owing to the historical significance of the team’s accomplishment for basketball in Liberia and the lasting impact on the LPRC Oilers Basketball Team and Liberian youth.
This is the first time, since the establishment of basketball in the country in the 1960s, for a Liberian basketball team to qualify for FIBA Africa Club Championship finals.
Nigeria’s Kano Pillars also represented the Zone – along with LPRC Oilers for the first time in decades.
Eddie told the Daily Observer over the weekend that the team would need about U$50,000 for the over five days trip which would bring together over 14 teams from over seven countries.
National basketball champions, Mighty Barrolle will join LPRC Oilers in the Zone 3 qualifiers and might also clash for the top two seats.
Barrolle is also in practice for the regional basketball party, and had earlier launched a basketball tourney to raise funds for the trip, but was cancelled owing to technical reasons.