11 October, 2022
27 November
to read

Road to BAL Elite 16 Round: Team Profile - Urunani


BUJUMBURA (Burundi) - Burundi is slowly putting itself on the basketball map. The East African country's clubs have shown potential in continental competitions in recent times.

Last year New Star represented Burundi at the Elite 16 and made it to the third-place playoffs.

FIBA.basketball profiles Urunani, the second Burundian club to make it to the Elite 16 Road To BAL qualifiers taking place in Johannesburg (22-27 November). They are in Group A in the East Division.

TEAM: Urunani

HISTORY FIBA AFRICA/BAL: Urunani are not new to continental competition, having appeared three times (2011, 2013 and 2014) in the FIBA African Champions Cup.

Urunani will make their first trip to the Elite 16 qualifiers and will try to be the first club from Burundi to qualify for the BAL.

BEST RESULT IN FIBA AFRICA/ BAL: In the three times they participated in continental competition, Urunani have not gone beyond the group stages.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED FOR THE ELITE 16: The Burundian champions finished the preliminary qualifiers held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last month with a perfect 3-0 record.

Urunani overcame Army Basketball Club (Tanzania), City Oilers (Uganda), and Matero Magic (Zambia).

STRENGTH/WEAKNESSES: Urunani had a perfect qualifying campaign in Tanzania. It is hard to pick out a fault in how they play the game. Experience could be their achilles heel, as some players in the Urunani lineup may not have encountered this level of competition.

KEY PLAYERS: Landry Ndikumana will lead the ambitious Burundian club in their mission to make a first appearance for the BAL.

Apart from captaining the club, Ndikumana is a solid rebounder and scorer. Spaniard Alvaro Calvo Masa got injured in Urunani's first game in the preliminary qualifiers in Tanzania and might sit out the rest of his club's campaign in Johannesburg.

Ivory Coast international player Adjehi Baru, who featured for Ferroviario de Maputo in the inaugural BAL season, brings his rim protection and scoring ability for Urunani.

HEAD COACH: Inaki Martin Garcia is a well-travelled coach and is not new to African basketball.

He has coached Mozambican national teams (Men's and Women's) and clubs in that country. Garcia has also coached in his home country of Spain and Portugal. The Spaniard recently arrived at Urunani and will have to hit the ground running.

OUTLOOK: Urunani has the potential to qualify for the BAL and have enough quality in their ranks to secure a top-three position in the Elite 16.