NBBF champions, Kwara Falcons debut in 2023 BAL season

NBBF champions, Kwara Falcons debut in 2023 BAL season

Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Final 8 tournament champions, Kwara Falcons will make its debut in the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) season.

The Ilorin-based club claimed their first national title in emphatic style trouncing Nigeria Customs 78-53 last year to secure a ticket to represent Nigeria on the continent.

They were announced by BAL as one of the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries to compete in the 2023 BAL season, which will tip off on Saturday, March 11 at the Dakar Arena in Dakar, Senegal.

The league will again feature a total of 38 games in Dakar; Cairo, Egypt and Kigali, Rwanda over three months in 2023.

The 12 teams include defending BAL champion US Monastir (Tunisia) and five other teams returning from the 2022 season.

Five teams will compete in the BAL for the first time, including the first BAL teams from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda: Abidjan Basket Club (Côte d’Ivoire), Al Ahly (Egypt), City Oilers (Uganda), Kwara Falcons (Nigeria) and Stade Malien (Mali). AS Douanes (Senegal) returns to the BAL after participating in the inaugural season in 2021.

The 12 teams will once again be divided into two conferences – the Sahara Conference and the Nile Conference. Each conference will play a 15-game group phase during which each team will face the other five teams in its conference once.

The Sahara Conference’s group phase will take place at the Dakar Arena from March 11-21, and the Nile Conference’s group phase will take place at Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo from April 26 – May 6.

The top four teams from each conference will qualify for the BAL Playoffs and Finals, which will feature a single-elimination tournament at BK Arena in Kigali from May 21-27.

Meanwhile, Head coach of Kwara Falcons, Baba Jibril is assuring Nigerians that his team will not disappoint when they finally take on the rest of Africa in next year’s edition of the Basketball Africa League.

The coach sounds clear that they will put in a good performance at the Basketball Africa League, BAL next year after winning the 2022 NBF Premier League final eight in Lagos in the past weekend.

As Nigerian champions, the responsibility of representing the country now rests on their shoulder. According to the coach, when they represent Nigeria, they will do their best to make sure they will not disappoint.

“This is like another version of the NBA in Africa. This is the highest basketball platform in Africa right now. Definitely, we are going to approach it differently. We have to prepare early enough. We are going to play against people in the highest basketball leagues across Africa”.

The African Basketball League is the biggest and the first men’s basketball league at the continental level. BAL has partnerships with FIBA and the NBA.

Kwara Falcons defeated another debutant, Nigeria Customs to win its maiden NBBF championship.