Basketball Africa League: Kigali Arena to host finals

Kigali Arena will also host the 2021 African Basketball Championships. / Emmanuel Kwizera

KIGALI has been named as the host city for the semi-finals and the final of the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL), which tips off in March 2020.

The games will be held at the magnificent Kigali Arena.

The announcement was made Tuesday night by BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall, during a reception at the Musée des Civilisations Noires in Dakar, Senegal, in the presence of FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.

At the occasion, there was also the FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bilé and the NBA Deputy Commissioner, Mark Tatum, as well as several current and former NBA and WNBA players.

It was also announced that NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across the continent.

“Today’s announcements mark another important milestone as we head into what will be a historic first season for the Basketball Africa League,” said Amadou Gallo. 

Besides Kigali, BAL boss also revealed other six cities; Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) as the host cities. The six will host the regular season games.

“We now have seven great host cities where we will play and our first partnership with a world-class outfitter.  We thank our first partners NIKE and Jordan Brand for supporting us on this journey and ensuring our teams have the best uniforms and on-court products.”

Beginning in March 2020, the six cities will host a regular season that will feature 12 teams divided into two conferences, with each conference playing in three cities.  The regular season will see the 12 teams play five games each for a total of 30 games, with the top three teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs. 

The six playoff teams – the 'Super 6' – will play in a round-robin format to determine the four teams that will advance to the BAL Final Four and BAL Final in Kigali, in late 2020. 

The announcement about the NBA and FIBA’s launch of the BAL, which would mark the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, was made at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 16.

The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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