Lati Erinfolami, chief coach of FirstBank Female Basketball Team, otherwise known, as Elephant Girls, is a happy man. Likewise, his assistant, Taye Adeniyi. And for lovers of basketball, it’s going to be a swell time henceforth. Already many basketball fans are asking, ‘is basketball back to its glorious days?

The answer is a resounding yes.

If the exploits of the nation’s foremost basketball team, Elephant Girls in recent times are anything to go by then it’s going to be fun galore, henceforth.

Before now, it was gloom, necessitated by the rampaging COVID-19 that put most sporting activities on hold, and even compounded by the crisis that rocked Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF).

In all these, however, the Elephant Girls are flying high in the wings of the nation’s foremost financial institution, FirstBank.

First, it was the Sam Oguche Basketball Foundation Tournament, which took place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos early in July.

Blazing through the preliminary stages, the girls filed out against their familiar foe, co-contenders MFM Queens. It ended 52-40 in favour of the Elephant Girls.

In the encounter reminiscence of the match between the world-famous Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers, the highly motivated Elephant Girls show class, skill, and resilience in the blistering 1hr 30mins match to seal victory over MFM Queens. But they are not done yet.

Less than three days after the victory over MFM, they returned to their familiar terrain, the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos for the second series of the Dr. D. K Olukoya Women Basketball Championship.

In contention are Clubs from across the country, MFM Queens, Bayelsa Patriots, Air Warriors from Abuja, Dodan Amazon from Lagos, Sunshine Angels of Akure, Osun Girls, Ekiti Warriors, IGP Queens from Abuja, and the rave of the moment, the Elephant Girls tutored by Erinfolami.

Erifolami; a coach of great repute, does not just impact the knowledge of the sport on the girls; he’s also a mentor and life coach.

In his days as a player, Erinfolami played at the senior national team level and even played briefly outside the country. He was a key member of the defunct AG Leventis Basketball Team and popular Ebun Comets. He had a brief stay in Lebanon before coming back to impact the knowledge of the younger ones.

Erinfolami joined the Elephant Girls not long ago and already has so much to show. He has led the team to the Lagos State City League win in the past, came third in the Zenith Basketball League in 2018/19, won the 2021 Olukoya Women Basketball Competi tion, and won the ‘Mark the Ball’ Championship in Abuja.

Two weeks back, the FirstBank Female Basketball team added another to its already overflowing success cap. The icing on the cake was the victory recorded over hard-fighting MFM Queens in the final of the second edition of the Olukoya Basketball Competition. It ended 54-37 in favour of the Elephant Girls.

Such is the history of success of the FirstBank girls. But if you think they are local champions, you must be wrong.

Elephant girls have a very rich history. Aside from winning the 2015/2016 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball Championship for the seventh time, they’ve gone to the continent to show class. But 2015/2016 also has a lot of history behind it. The competition, which, dunked off on March 18, 2016; saw the Elephant Girls take the lead in all the games in Abuja, Asaba, and the finals in Lagos.

The team maintained the unbeaten run to reclaim the trophy from Dolphins FC, the then defending champions of the tournament. The victory was spurred by their wallop of the AHIP Queens of Kano in the quarter-finals by 106-38, mauled the IGP Queens by 105-22 in the semifinal game, and dethroned Dolphins FC with a final score line of 75 – 60.

The FirstBank team won FIBA Africa Zone 3 competition, and they were also champions of the FIBA Africa Women’s Clubs Champions Cup in 2003 and 2009.

In 2003, the Elephant Girls represented Nigeria at the International Women Basketball Competition which was held in Brazil.

FirstBank, already dubbed first with sports, is not just into basketball, but other sports. The banking giant has its fingerprint in golf, polo, tennis, horse racing, and athletics among others. It is committed to the development of sports in Nigeria.

Simply put, sports is woven into the fabric of the banking giant.