16 October, 2019
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Jozi Nuggets set eyes on Lions in BAL Qualifiers

JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - Hosts Jozi Nuggets will be looking to register a second straight win when they take on Lions from Namibia on Thursday in a Group E tie at the Basketball Africa League Qualifying Tournament at the Wembley Indoor Sports Complex. 

With a 1-1 win ratio at the regional competition, the South African outfit will need to win all their remaining games to stand a chance of progressing to the Second Round. A lot is at stake and the players along with the technical staff understand what it will take to achieve this feat. 

Jozi Nuggets captain Neo Mothiba has made it very clear that this is a big moment for his side and that qualifying to the next round is not only huge from a players' perspective but also from an organizational point. 

“I AM VERY EXCITED TO BE PLAYING AT HOME. THE PROSPECTS OF QUALIFYING ARE EXCITING. OUR AIM IS TO REACH THE SECOND ROUND. THIS WOULD BE BIG FOR SOUTH AFRICAN BASKETBALL. THE KIDS WILL HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. WE WILL ATTRACT PLAYERS AND FINANCIAL ROLE PLAYERS TO OUR CLUB.”- Mothiba

Against the Lions, the Jozi Nuggets face a winless side that will be relentless in their search for a debut win but Mothiba and his teammates are ready and up to the test. 

Speaking to FIBA.basketball, he said, "They [Lions] are a good side but they lack depth. Their starting five is talented and they see this as their chance of getting a win so I am sure they will come out hard."

For Mothiba, a veteran of the hoops game, the Basketball Africa League presents a unique opportunity that will change many lives for all basketball stakeholders. 

He said, "I am very excited to be playing at home. The prospects of qualifying are exciting. Our aim is to reach the second round. This would be big for South African basketball. The kids will have something to look forward to. We will attract players and financial role players to our club."

"Partnering with the NBA is big for FIBA. Obviously, with the NBA trying to have a bigger footprint in Africa, it makes sense. This could yield great fruit for African basketball."

Table leaders Ferroviario de Maputo will be up against Mercenaries from Zimbabwe with the Mozambican side eyeing a third straight victory at this competition.

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Ferroviario's Spanish import Alvaro Calvo Masa said, "They are a good team but we shall do our best to try and win because our target is to win every game that we play. The first two games that we won were against easier teams but today, we shall face a big challenge but we are ready."

Mercenaries won their opening game against the Lions 64-55 but fell to the University of Zambia Pacers 80-74 after overtime and will be looking to stay in the bracket of teams vying for a place in the Second Round. 

Peterson Muchakubvura will be key for Mercenaries

In the other game of the day, the Dolphins from Botswana face the Pacers with hope of clinching victory for the first time at this competition but whether they can stop the hungry Zambian outfit will come down to how good their defense will be on the day. 

The top two teams from Group E will qualify to the Second Round of the Basketball Africa League Qualifying Tournaments. 

FIBA