The Basketball Africa League (BAL) has announced that the league’s historic inaugural season will tip off on Sunday, May 16 and run until May 30.

The tournament will be played at Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across the continent competing in the new professional league.

The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized on the continent and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.

The first BAL Finals will be played on Sunday, May 30.

“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall is quoted in press release. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture,” he added.

The competition format for the inaugural season was adjusted and will feature a total of 26 games. The competition will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four.  During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once.  The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL.  FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches and officials.  The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.

Anibal Manave, FIBA Africa and BAL Board President

The tourney had been scheduled to be played in March last in Dakar, Senegal but postponed due to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Qualified Teams

Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers (GSP), Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda (Petro de Luanda), Forces Armées et Police Basketball (FAP), Zamalek, Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club (GNBC), Association Sportive de la Police Nationale (AS Police), Association Sportive de Salé (AS Salé), Ferroviàrio de Maputo, Rivers Hoopers BC, Patriots BC, Association Sportive des Douanes (AS Douanes), Union Sportive Monastirienne (US Monastir)

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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