Zouita believes AS Sale home advantage will be key
SALE (Morocco) - Reigning African champions AS Sale of Morocco will be looking to build on home advantage when they host Nigerian outfit Civil Defenders Basketball in the Elite 8 return leg tie of the Africa Basketball League in Sale, Morocco on Friday.
The two sides drew 69-all last Saturday but AS Sale believe that their fans will provide an electric atmosphere that should spur them to victory if they strengthen their defence.
"OUR FANS WILL HELP US TO REACH THE FINAL-FOUR AND WE SHALL GIVE THIS GAME 100% TO WIN. WE SHALL GIVE OUR MAXIMUM ON THIS JOURNEY TO DEFEND OUR TITLE. WE NEED TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE"
The incredible feeling of lifting an African title is what is driving AS Sale with memories of winning last year still etched in their minds and now they find themselves between a rock and a hard place, against a Nigerian side that has shown qualities of resilience against the continent's best.
Speaking to FIBA.basketball exclusively, Abdelhakim Zouita who played a very key role on both ends of the court in the first leg scoring 15 points and picking eight rebounds, says they have to improve their all-round defence.
Trailing in the first two quarters, the Moroccans were exposed before coming back strong in the third quarter to set the tone for the last where their never-give-up attitude kept them in close contention and eventually the draw.
"Our fans will help us to reach the FINAL FOUR and we shall give this game 100% to win. We shall give our maximum on this journey to defend our title. We need to be more aggressive," Zouita said.
"We have watched their sequence on video with our coach and really we have to make amends and be very focused on Friday. It is very important for us."
The winner of this tie will join Angolan giants Primeiro de Agosto and Smouha of Egypt in the FINAL FOUR of Africa's topflight club basketball competition.
Follow the game live on FIBA Youtube Channel on Friday at 18 GMT+1.