Basketball Africa League open to spreading game further in SA

17 February 2024 - 17:32
By Vuyokazi Nkanjeni in Indianapolis
Pieter Prinsloo has captained the Cape Town Tigers in the Basketball Africa League for the past two seasons
Image: NBAE/Getty Images Pieter Prinsloo has captained the Cape Town Tigers in the Basketball Africa League for the past two seasons

Basketball Africa League (BAL) president Amadou Gallo Fall says the association will consider spreading the game to other parts of SA as Pretoria prepares to host matches for the first time next month.

In its fourth edition, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) will debut in SA at the Sunbet Arena from March 9-17. 

The event, which is growing in popularity with every season, features 12 club teams from 12 African countries participating in 48 games in Pretoria, Cairo, Dakar and Kigali.

The 12 teams will be divided into three conferences of four teams each.

Pretoria will host the Kalahari conference which includes Cape Town Tigers (SA), Dynamo Basketball from Burundi, FUS Rabat in Morocco, and Petro de Luanda from Angola.

Speaking at the NBA All-Star 2024 Basketball Weekend in Indianapolis, BAL president, Amadou Gallo Fall said expansion within SA could play a role in their future plans.

“We don't impose any limit to anything, we look at to always innovate and expand our footprint, continuing to improve the product on the court first,” Fall said on Friday.

“However, there is a lot of interest and demand to increase the number of teams for example, but I think we want to continue to work to perfect the model.”

For now, Fall said the league was excited to be bringing BAL to Mzansi.

“We continue to expand the league adding a third country to play our regular games in SA,” Fall said.

In past editions, Cape Town Tigers could only compete in other countries but now the side will have an opportunity to play on home soil.

“Our Kalahari conference will start with the Cape Town Tigers, Dynamo Basketball from Burundi, FUS Rabat in Morocco, and Petro de Luanda from Angola, a team that has been in the league since its inception.”

Basketball Africa League (BAL) president Amadou Gallo Fall
Image: BAL/NBAE Basketball Africa League (BAL) president Amadou Gallo Fall

“So, we are very excited to be bringing the BAL to a country that we know well, we moved to SA back in 2010 to launch the NBA Africa office.

“There is a growing interest in basketball in the country among young people. We are looking forward to having a lot of fans in the arena and there are a lot of activities that are going to start leading up to it to promote the game.

“We aim to promote the game's growth, celebrate basketball and bring our world-class league to SA where we are also looking forward to engaging with the entire creative industries there.

“We know the vibrancy of the entertainment ecosystem in SA, and we are looking forward to bringing all that together about the BAL League games.”

Fall said avid basketball fans can expect world-class action in a world-class arena.

He said there would be people travelling from different parts of Africa to come and experience the launch of BAL in SA.

The top two teams from each conference and the top two third-place teams will travel to the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda for four seeding games followed by an eight-game, single-elimination playoffs and finals stage from Friday, May 24 to Saturday, June 1.

BAL is a collaboration between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA.

Tickets for the Kalahari Conference group phase in Pretoria are on sale at BAL.NBA.com and ticketmaster.co.za (Pretoria).

The three conferences are:

Kalahari: Cape Town Tigers (SA), Dynamo Basketball Club (Burundi)*, FUS Rabat Basketball (Morocco)*, Petro de Luanda (Angola)

Nile: Al Ahly (Egypt), Al Ahly Ly (Libya)*, Bangui Sporting Club (Central African Republic)*, City Oilers (Uganda)

Sahara: Armée Patriotique Rwandaise Basketball (APR; Rwanda)*, AS Douanes (Senegal), Rivers Hoopers (Nigeria), US Monastir (Tunisia)

* Indicates first-time BAL participants.

• Vuyokazi Nkanjeni is in Indianapolis as a guest of NBA Africa.