19 Teams Lock Horns At 2014 'Mark D Ball' Basketball Tournament

19 teams drawn from within Nigeria will be slugging it out at the 2014 edition of Mark D Ball; basketball tournament in Otukpo, .

Programme coordinator of the event, Obande Ogbole said this on Saturday at the Otukpo basketball arena ahead of start of hostilities. The number of contesting teams this year is short by three of that of last edition, but Ogbole said some invited teams couldn&;t make it to Otukpo.

He explained that 11 teams will compete in the male category while eight teams will battle for glory in the female category. “We got to this number by circumstances beyond our control. They [male teams] suppose to be 12.”

Those competing in the male category include; Apa Flames, Blazzers, Bethlehem, St. Mark, Blame it on experience, ESPN, Okland Blaze of Okene, T-Jobber talents from Uyo, Braves of Makurdi amongst others.

The female category has; Baby zeals from , One Win Academy from Kaduna, Sweeties from Makurdi, Pearls from Lagos, Apa queens of Otukpo, Purple Mart of Otukpo and Rockers of Jos among those who will be challenging for glory at the competition.

The coordinator explained that: “The defending champions are not part of this year&39;s edition because it is an invitational tournament. It is at the prerogative of the host to make that decision because we want to spread the invitation to accommodate others.”

He said restriction has also been placed on the number of premier league players allowed to participate in the competition.

“We won’t take more than three premier league players per team. This is to allow for wider participation. It is an exposure to some of these kids whom without a forum like this will not be scouted by anyone.”

Speaking on why no international team is taking part in this year&39;s edition, Ogbole explained that: “we suppose to have a female team from Burkina Faso but because of the political issues in Burkina Faso, they couldn’t come.”

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