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BAL inaugural season postponed over COVID-19 fears

The continental showpiece was due to start Friday, March 13.
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) logo was officially launched in Kigali last December. Patriots will represent Rwanda in the 12-team continental competition. File

Basketball Africa League (BAL) has postponed the start date of its inaugural regular season, which was due March 13 in Dakar, Senegal.

The kick-off was postponed following ‘health concerns’ related to Coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement signed by BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.

 

“Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government regarding the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus, the BAL’s inaugural season will be postponed. 

 

I am disappointed we are not able to tip off this historic league as scheduled but look forward to the highly-anticipated launch of the BAL at a later date,” Gallo Fall said in a statement.

 

The decision comes after Senegal’s health ministry said a second person who flew to the West African country from France last week tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa to three, with the other case having been confirmed in Nigeria.

The BAL, a partnership between International Basketball Federation (Fiba) and the American National Basketball Association (NBA), is a new professional league featuring 12 clubs from across Africa, including Rwandan champions Patriots.

Patriots progressed to the finals after finishing the BAL qualifiers held in Kigali back in December as Division East leaders ahead of GNBC of Madagascar and Mozambique’s Ferroviario de Maputo.

The highly anticipated league follows club competitions that Fiba has organized in Africa over the years, but it marks NBA’s first time to operate a professional league outside North America.

NIKE and Jordan Brand are the exclusive on-court outfitter of the competition.

Full 12-team list for BAL 2020 season:

AS Douanes (Senegal), AS Police (Mali), AS Sale (Morocco), GS Petroliers (Algeria), FAP (Cameroon), Petro de Luanda (Angola), Rivers Hoopers (Nigeria), Union Monastir (Tunisia), Zamalek (Egypt) and Rwanda’s Patriots.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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