BAL Qualifiers: Patriots again to face City Oilers in final round

Patriots reached the final round after finishing top of Group D in the first round last month in Tanzania. Sam Ngendahimana.

Rwandan champions Patriots have been pooled in Group H in the second – and final – round of qualifiers for the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL), which gets underway in March 2020.

The Group H qualifiers, to be held in Kigali, are scheduled for December 17-22.

One of the group members is Uganda’s City Oilers, whom Patriots beat en route to finishing top of Group D in the final round qualifiers last month in Tanzania.

However, prior to last month’s meeting, City Oilers had won the previous two games between the two regional giants, including the final of the 2017 FIBA Africa Zone V Club championships.

Besides Patriots and City Oilers, the group also comprises Kenyan champions KPA, Ferroviario de Maputo from Mozambique, Madagascar side GNBC and UNZA Pacers of Zambia.

KPA and GNBC advanced to the final round after finishing first and second, respectively, from Group F, while Ferroviario and UNZA Pacers progressed from Group E.

By press time Tuesday, FIBA Africa was yet to name four wild card winners who will join the two groups – two in each group – to make them eight-team pools.

In the meantime, Cameroon capital, Yaoundé, will host Group G games in the second round from November 26 to December 1. The group includes; AS Police (Mali), GSP (Algeria), A.B.C (Côte d’Ivoire), AS Nigeric (Niger), F.A.P (Cameroon) and Gabon’s Manga BB.

In the second round, also known as the ‘Elite 16’ round, teams – eight per group – will be fighting for six tickets that are up for grabs.

The six winners will then join champions from Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia to form a 12-team line-up for the inaugural BAL season next year.

Kigali has been confirmed as the host city for the semi-finals and the final of the much anticipated continental showpiece.

Rwanda will also organise the 2021 African Basketball Championships (AfroBasket) finals tournament, making it only the second East African nation to host the continent’s biggest basketball event – and the first since Kenya in 1993.

The men’s senior national basketball team has been to five of the last six Afrobasket editions since its 2007 debut in Angola.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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