FIBA Africa on Friday, September 29, confirmed the withdrawal of two clubs from the first round of the qualifiers of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), Abbeylivenetwork,com reports.
A statement from FIBA revealed that Group A’s Nigelec Basket Club, a Nigerien outfit as well as Group E’s Roche-Bois Warriors from Mauritius “have informed FIBA Africa of their unavailability to participate in the qualification round for the Basketball Africa League (BAL).”
This would have been the third straight appearance in the first round of the Road to BAL for Nigerien champions Nigelec.
The decision means that Groups A and E will go ahead with three teams each. The remaining twenty clubs are expected to compete for a chance to qualify for the second round Elite 16 to be played in Abidjan and Johannesburg in November.
As has been the case in recent years, five cities will host the First Round of the Road to BAL qualifiers while the decisive Elite 16 round will take place in two other cities.
This year’s Road to BAL comprises East and West Divisions, with teams split into five groups. Subsequently, the teams that will finish at the top of each group will advance to the Second Round Elite 16.
With the tentative dates for the event already released, the teams from all FIBA Africa Zones will now have an opportunity to showcase their talent in an attempt to qualify for the now popular continental basketball premier league, the BAL.
From East and West to North and South, preparations are already in high gear for all the clubs that qualified for this year’s competition- some of which are making their maiden appearance.
The campaign will start off with Group E matches that will take place in Antananarivo, Madagascar from October 3-8.
It will then move to Groups A and B whose matches will simultaneously be held in Benghazi, Libya and Yaoundé, Cameroon, from October 6-10.
From October 10-15, the action will then swing to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania who will host Group C matches before winding up with Group D matches in Gaborone, Botswana on October 17-22.
Heading the list of already qualified teams for the 2024 BAL Championship are title holders Al Ahly of Egypt, AS Douanes of Senegal and Rwandan champions APR.
Completing the remaining slots are Angolan powerhouse Petro de Luanda who lost the bronze medal game to Stade Malien of Mali in 2022. Former champions US Monastir of Tunisia as well as a yet-to-be-named team from Nigeria also have an automatic ticket to the showpiece.