Wednesday Petro de Luanda Vs AS Douanes 5pm (BK Arena) Al Ahly Vs Stade Malien 8:30 pm (BK Arena) Rwanda Energy Group(REG), Abidjan Basket Club, Clube Ferroviario da Beira and Cape Town Tigers had their dream of the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) championship cut short following early elimination from the quarterfinals over the weekend. The championship is now between four semifinalists from which finalists will be decided on Wednesday at BK Arena. Title favorites Petro de Luanda face Senegalese powerhouse AS Douanes in the first semi-final game at 5pm. The Angolan and Nile Conference champions will be looking to beat their Senegalese rivals to not only book a ticket to the final but to also finish the campaign unbeaten. While AS Douanes marched into the semi-finals after putting up an emphatic 93-73 win over Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviário da Beira on Saturday Petro de Luanda were not sure of reaching the last four until they inflicted an 88-84 defeat on ABC Fighters in the final seconds in what is arguably regarded as the game of the BAL Playoffs so far. Elsewhere Malian powerhouse Stade Malien became the first team to reach the BAL semifinals following Saturday’s 78-69 quarter final victory over South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers. The Sahara Conference champions will face Egyptian giants Al Ahly who beat REG 94-77 despite the latter playing before a sold out home crowd. Since the end of the Conference games in early May, two teams, Al Ahly and Petro de Luanda have been projected as favorites to fight for the 2023 BAL title. And, with four games left in the season, there hasn’t been any surprises as the two title contenders remained locked up for what would be their first championship since the tournament’s inception in 2021. Petro de Luanda head coach Pedro Neto made it clear that his team is in Kigali to win the championship. “We are here to win. The team never at any point thought it was losing the game,” Neto said after knocking ABC Fighters. Like Petro, Al Ahly want the trophy and they don’t care whether they are debutants in the tournament. Pundits and basketball enthusiasts are predicting an all-Nile Conference final given the on-court swagger and hunger of glory that the pair showed in the quarterfinals. ALSO READ: My two cents: All credit to Al Ahly but REG could have done better ALSO READ: My two cents: Petro de Luanda’s hunger proved too much for Mills to handle “It is Al Ahly and Petro in the final. In them, we witnessed pure basketball last weekend. We want to see a rematch after that show in Cairo during the Nile Conference,” said Sabine Umutoni, a basketball fan. “It would be a perfect matchup the majority of basketball fans want to watch on Saturday,” she added. But don’t write off Sahara Conference giants! Neither AS Douanes nor Stade Malien reached this stage by chance. “We are going to the semifinals, but the championship is exactly why we came here to support AS Douanes,” said a Senegalese supporter who traveled with the Senegalese champions to the Kigali playoffs. In Wednesday’s semifinals, expect class and pure basketball and only the best will advance to the final.