The elite round of 16 of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) 2023 qualifiers gets underway on Monday, November 14. Sixteen teams that qualified for this stage will be vying for the remaining six slots for the final tournament. Here are nine things that you should know about the contest: 1. The competing teams Sixteen basketball clubs representing 15 countries are competing in the Road to BAL Elite 16 Round. Those teams are: Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), Urunani (Burundi), Kenya Ports Authority (Kenya), COSPN (Madagascar), Elan Coton (Benin), Abidjan Basket Club (Cote d’Ivoire), Ferroviario da Beira (Mozambique), AS Sale (Morocco), Stade Malien (Mali), Bangui Sporting Club (Central African Republic), Forces Armees et Police (Cameroon), Nueva Era Basket Club (Equatorial Guinea), City Oilers (Uganda), Seydou Legacy Athletique Club (Guinea), Matero Magic (Zambia), and the NBA Academy Africa - a program that gathers young players from all corners of Africa. 2. Two cities This round of the qualification for the BAL will take place from Monday, November 14 until Sunday, November 27. It follows the Group Phase played in October across the African cities of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Yaounde (Cameroon), Antananarivo (Madagascar), and Niamey (Niger). The 16 teams were divided into East and West Divisions. Abidjan will be home to the West Division from November 14-19 while Johannesburg will host the East Division from November 22-27. 3. Six qualification slots at stake Of the 16 teams in contention, only six (three from each division) will qualify for the 2023 BAL regular season. Those teams will join the champions of Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia, who all qualified automatically. 4. Competition system Both divisions consist of two groups each. The teams that finish in the top three places of Groups E and F will qualify for the Final Phase of Basketball Africa league. 5. How to watch the games All Road to BAL Elite 16 games will be streamed live on FIBA’s YouTube Channel. 6. Who are the favourites? At first glance former African champions Abidjan Basket Club and AS Sale appear on the pole position to move on to the BAL. The Ivorian champions displayed a flawless Group Phase campaign and have the advantage of playing in front of their home fans. AS Sale, on the other hand, count on an experienced squad and coaching staff that know African basketball better than most of their opponents. Other potential candidates to move on include East Division Hosts Cape Town Tigers, who reached the BAL Quarter-Finals last season; 2022 BAL semifinalists Forces Armees et Police; Ferroviario de Maputo, and Urunani. 7. The dark horses There is a trio of teams with legitimate chances of snatching some of the six tickets for the BAL. Those teams are Bangui Sporting Club, who built a team around the likes of Max Kouguere, Kenneth Gasana, and William Claiborne, City Oilers, and, maybe, the NBA Academy Africa. 8. Some history Among the 16 teams competing in the Elite 16 Round, FAP appear as the only one that has featured in the previous two edition of the qualifiers, and, successfully, qualified for the BAL regular season. There is no doubt that the BAL came to revolutionize basketball on the continent, and this is reflected on the number of debutant teams in the Elite 16. A total of seven teams are set to play in the event for the very first time. Those teams are: NBA Academy Africa, Urunani, COSPN, Elan Coton, Stade Malien, Bangui Sporting Club, and Nueva Era. 9. Players to watch This series of the Elite 16 won’t be short of talented players to watch out for. Keep these names in mind: Souleymane Berthe (Stade Malien), Amadou Harouna (AS Sale), Raphiael Putney (Cape Town Tigers), Landry Ndikumana (Urunani), and Mike Fofana and Jorge Pacheco-Ortiz (ABC). But that’s not all. Get your popcorn ready as the NBA Academy Africa squad may come loaded with talented young players. Some top names include Thierry Serge Darlan, Emmanuel Okorafor, Kaman Maluach, Ulrich Kamka-Chomche, and Rueben Chinyelu.