With the support of the NBA and FIBA, the African Basketball League (ABL) was created in 2019. This is the first time the NBA has created a senior competition outside the United States. Chaired by Senegalese Amadou Gallo Fall, vice president of the NBA, this competition aims to promote the potential of young talent from the African continent and further develop basketball on the continent. The first edition, originally scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed to 2021, due to the global health crisis.
LA BAL, imagined by the NBA
The African continent being considered as an “inexhaustible reservoir of talent” by the NBA and FIBA, the “African Basketball League” will allow the latter to obtain an increased visibility at the world level. All entities sharing the same passion and wishing to boost African basketball at the international level.
This new league allows African players to know a professional ascension and to promote local talents. These players can thus evolve at the highest level at home, without having to go to other countries to find a league that suits them.
Promoting young talent
By combining their training with this new competition, the young talents can rub shoulders with the best possible competition on the African continent and pull each other up. Previously left out of the learning and training process due to lack of transportation and funds, this competition helps to alleviate these problems.
Economic development issues
But this competition also has an economic interest. The BAL wants to be a bridge between the world of sports and all industries that can contribute to the influence of Africa. The main objective is not only to develop basketball and promote new talents, but beyond that, it is to contribute to the socio-economic development of the continent.
The sports industry must become a real engine of growth for Africa in the years to come. Indeed, the African continent is still lagging behind at this level, where sport contributes only 0.5% of the world GDP against 2% on other continents. Development banks have a major role to play, especially in financing sustainable sports infrastructure.
As the second most played sport in the world, basketball is a sport that has the potential to unify and positively influence an entire society. When used wisely, basketball is a fabulous bridge-building tool.
The first edition won by Zamalek
In its first edition in 2021, it pitted 12 teams against each other, among them 6 national champions, namely the champions of Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Angola, and Senegal. And six other teams that have passed the qualifications such as Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and Algeria. The teams were divided into three groups, with the top two and the best two thirds qualifying for the knockout phase. It is finally the club of Zamalek that won this first edition of the BAL.
Eight teams have qualified to participate in the BAL 2022 qualifying phase after the group stage.
Four teams from the Nile Conference and four teams from the Sahara Conference will compete at this stage for places in the semi-finals and finals.
REG (Rwanda), US Monastir (Tunisia), AS Sale (Morocco) and SLAC (Guinea) have been eliminated from the Sahara Conference, while Zamalek (Egypt), Petro de Luanda (Angola), FAP (Cameroon) and Cape Town Tigers (South Africa) have been eliminated from the Nile Conference. The playoffs will take place May 21-28 at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda, where Zamalek will attempt to defend its championship title.