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The dark horses of Community Dunks – Ridge

As more big names speak out on impending Community Dunks in Ghana’s capital, Accra, we take a closer look at team Ridge and finds out whether they’ve got what it takes to crack it at this year’s edition.

Coach Braimah Lawah’s side were bridesmaid last season and he has not given up the chase to win the title in 2010 after a stellar display saw them miss the boat by a whisker.

Indeed many pundits including some coaches think they could be the team to beat during season -2 of the most prestigious basketball competition amongst communities in the Greater Accra region.

And as Ferrani Olunloyo of Dansoman claimed, the youngsters look the more determined side for success after their fairly –tale story last season.

‘I think Ridge can win the championship. They have most of their players who placed second last year available and that is good for team building’. Olunloyo said

‘I expect season -2 to be keenly contested and an improvement of last years and if I take a look at all the eight teams that will be participating, I’m tempted to believe Ridge can be the side to take the title from Cantonment’.

Veteran coach Lawah will be pleased to welcome majority of players who featured prominently in 2009.

Star point guards Richard Tetteh, Ibrahim Mohammed and Jibril Musa are available for selection while Small Forward duo of David Laryea and Nana Aboagye are also in hunt to vie for the trophy.

There are also Stephen Foster Gadu, Samuel Acheampong Edwin Sarfo in the frame to make their presence count on the court in the one-month long tournament.

They placed second in the group phase at last year’s competition in pool B that comprised of Tema, eventual winners Cantonment, Legon and Nima (now Kawukudi CYCC) after recording 3 wins and one defeat.

But they surprisingly placed third in the second preliminary round that had Dansoman, Cantonment and Kaneshie. They won 2 matches and suffered one defeat.

They raised their stock and performance at the semi-final stage by beating highly fancied Dansoman 47-44 in a close contest before they lost the final plot against Cantonment 44-52.

Players

The key factor for Ridge will be the players who will hold the flag of their community aloft. They placed second last year and their hungry to go a step further in 2010 will prove the catalyst for their quest win the title. The players have improved in pre-season and team spirit and chemistry will do the trick for them if they keep their heads above waters.

Their ability to focus and stand the test of time will help them to realize their dream. Richard Tetteh was superb for Magic during the junior league in the Greater Accra basketball series and he will be the key player to watch in 2010.

Conspicuously missing is Nii Lantei Blankson Mills who has the side’s best player at last year’s tournament. The former student of St Peters Senior high is out of the age band and will not be part of Coach Braimah Lawah’s side this term.

 Technical brain

Coach Braimah Lawah is arguably the country’s finest technical brain. The former player of Enugu Rangers in Nigeria has been the brain behind the unrivalled performance of Custom Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in the Greater Accra basketball series. The capped an incredible decade by clinching their 10 consecutive title some few months ago.

Nearing the twilight of his coaching career, Lawah knows this much: He’s not ready to stop chasing championships.

Luckily for him he has young and enterprising men who have delved into impacting knowledge on the young players. Braimah Hashim is fast learning the rudiment of coaching and his experience for playing for CEPS since his school high days at Accra Academy has given him enough insight into the profession. He will offer some amount of help to the ageing Lawah who will also have his son play in community dunks for the first time.

Ridge will enjoy massive support from crazy basketball fans from Tudu, the central business district and its environs as they attempt to upstage Cantonment.

The stage is now set for what is expected to be a grueling championship at the University of Ghana basketball court beginning Saturday September 11 (and every other Saturday 3-8pm)

Community Dunks 2010 is an initiate of Rite Multimedia with support from Indomie Noodles and begins from Saturday September 11, 2010 (and every other Saturday from 3-8pm) at the University of Ghana basketball court.

By: Patrick Akoto

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