Following Magdalene Ukato’s decision to call it quit on her career, First Bank Basketball Club head coach Peter Ahmedu has disclosed to ACLSports why such a decision was made.
Former First Bank forward, Ukato announced her retirement from professional basketball after the club’s unveiling ceremony in Lagos last month.
The Zenith Bank Basketball League champions unveiled 10 new players and retained 8 from 18 players who played last season for the club.
Ukato said “I need to focus on my family and build a good home with my husband.”
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“Distant marriage has taken a heavy toll on me, my husband and our little boys growing up.There is life after basketball,” Ukato disclosed to Titansbasketbal.com.
“Moreover, younger players would be given the opportunity to showcase themselves on their journey to the top,” she said.
At the end of last season, 4 Elephant Girls left for college while 6 were dropped ahead of the 2018 Zenith Bank Basketball league season. The versatile forward was among those dropped by coach Ahmedu.
The former Mentors coach revealed why Ukato was not retained for the 2018 season.
“She retired two years ago when I was about to take over First Bank. I felt she wasn’t due for retirement so I spoke with her and asked her to come back and play again for one more season.I also spoke with her husband and told them let’s give it a try.
“Marriage should not put a stop to a game she loves to play,” he said.
With more young players on the team this year, Ahmedu said he doesn’t want to risk her playing for one more season.
“She was up and doing for the first year and the next.Because of the philosophy I am bringing in to the team this year, I don’t think a player of her type will be more useful in terms of endurance, speed I don’t want her to break down,” he said.
“She is a married woman and would have added weight before returning for the new season. I spoke to her one on one which she accepted and that’s why we didn’t sign her this year,” Ahmedu said
Ahmedu added,”As a female ball player, once you get married you can’t take sole decisions anymore.”
Magdalene Ukato was named back to back most valuable player at the final phase of the 13th edition of the Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League in Lagos last year. The 32 year old Human Kinetics graduate from University of Lagos is married with two sons.