The continental ‘sporting excellence award’ is a culmination of many decades of work, which started from early days when we recognized the power of sports and especially Basketball. Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) told Times Sport on Thursday night after being awarded among this year’s nominees of GUBA awards. The ceremony, hosted in Kigali at the Intare Conference Arena, aimed to among others celebrate African excellence. BAL President Gallo Fall was among the 13 people who received awards. Other high ranked officials include World Health Organization (WHO) boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, Grammy Awards Chief Executive of the Grammy Awards, Hervey Mason, among others. “I'm extremely grateful, it's because this is a recognition that's not just of myself, but it is recognizing a body of work that obviously along the way so many people have contributed to, if we are looking at the Event of the basketball African League,” BAL president told The New Times in an exclusive interview. According to him, the sole mission is to use sports, in particular basketball as a cone to empower young people and to make sure that they contribute in the efforts in Africa to associate economic development. “And then obviously NBA Africa, all the work they have done is incredible with a team of people that are from all across Africa.” “So I'm grateful. I'm humble, but also, I'm very energized to do more,” he added. Stepping stone When asked about the responsibilities that come with the accolade, BAL President pointed out that there was no pressure at all. “Because that's what we live for, that's what we do. So, if anything, it's a shot in the arm, it is more motivation and specially to get this award here in Kigali.” For me, Gallo Fall said, it adds another level of satisfaction, so to speak. “But we are nowhere finished. We are just scratching the surface. Because this league is going to be one of the best in the world in a few years. Well, it's just again, for young people all over the continent to know that.” He also warned Africa’s young talent to shy away from cutting corners but instead work extremely hard and have bigger ambitions. “And I think things like the GUBA Awards are part of the things we grew up watching in other parts of the world. And you think it's just there, but for me, for everybody and especially young people, to know that we can achieve big things on the continent.” I think we’ve demonstrated that by launching the BAL here in the middle of the pandemic and we are going to continue to produce top talent in basketball. Rwanda and the BAL entered a partnership to host the continental showpiece in Kigali for three consecutive years.