The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced that the league’s historic inaugural season will tip off Sunday, May 16 at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

12 teams from across Africa will compete in the new professional league. The BAL is a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). The league will build on the foundation of club competitions that FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized on the continent and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. The first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.

The announcement made clear that the BAL is to implement robust health and safety protocols for the 12 teams and personnel traveling to Rwanda. The protocols are based on guidance from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, together with with public health officials and medical experts.

“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.  “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

“We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL,” said FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave.  “FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches and officials.  The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”

The league also announced an adjusted competition format for the inaugural season, which will feature a total of 26 games at the Kigali Arena.  The competition will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four.  During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once.  The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

Below are the 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the inaugural BAL season:

COUNTRYTEAM
AlgeriaGSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers) **
AngolaPetro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda) *
CameroonFAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball) **
EgyptZamalek*
MadagascarGNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club)**
MaliAS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale) **
MoroccoAS Salé (Association Sportive de Salé) *
MozambiqueFerroviàrio de Maputo**
NigeriaRivers Hoopers BC (Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club)*
RwandaPatriots BC (Patriots Basketball Club)**
SenegalAS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes) *
TunisiaUS Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne)*

Story from BAL press release via SPNAfrica News

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