Nigeria will feature in a new Basketball Africa League expected to debut in January 2020.
The new league will see the NBA partner with FIBA Africa to provide a platform that will ultimately take the game to higher level in the continent while providing increased opportunity for African players to play in the NBA.
The Proposed League according to FIBA Africa’s executive director, Alphonse Bile will not only expand the scope of the game in Africa but will provide ample opportunity for up and coming players to realise their dreams of hitting the top faster in the “best possible environment”
Bile who was Captain of Cote d’Ivoire’s National Team from 1976 to 1984, reasoned that floating the league will trigger off target setting among youths especially those with basketball bias across the continent.
“The implementation of this league is vital to our young up-and-coming players in Africa as it gives them something to take aim at, “he enthused.
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) which is due for launch in January 2020, will feature 12
FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis described it as a huge step in the right direction; “It’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximise the potential of professional basketball in Africa.”
Former US president Barack Obama has backed the plans, while NBA legend Michael Jordan, who is now the Charlotte Hornets chairman, was at the launch event in North Carolina
The NBA and Fiba will conduct qualification tournaments to identify which teams from several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, can compete in the league.
No more than two teams from the same country will be eligible to play in the league.
The NBA over the years has seen 80 current and former players from Africa or with family links to the continent compete, including Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo.