03 October, 2023
26 November
20/11/2023
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Everything you need to know about the 2023 East Division Elite 16 in Joburg 

 

JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - The die is cast! Eight (8) teams are in Johannesburg, South Africa, chasing the final three (3) slots to the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL) set to be hosted in four cities for the first time. 

Action at the Ellis Park Arena tips off on Tuesday 21 November with four matches on the cards as teams face off in a round-robin preliminary round of four teams each. The top two in each group proceed to the semis. 

The finalists and third-placed team join nine (9) other teams already qualified for the BAL.

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Pazi BBC (Tanzania) winners of the Group C qualification round hosted in their backyard and Dynamo BBC (Burundi) who earned a wild card from the same group are joined by NBA Academy Africa and South African champions Cape Town Tigers to form Group A. 

Group B is headlined by regulars Ferroviaro da Bera (Mozambique) and City Oilers (Uganda) who remain favourites to top this group that also has Club Omnisport Police Nationale (COSPN) of Madagascar and JCB (Zimbabwe) who won the right from Group D and E respectively. 

Ferroviario da Beira have qualified for the last two BAL seasons. Can they make it 3-for-3 in the East Division Elite 16? 

Opening day action has Ferroviaro da Beira taking on JBC from 11 am (South African time) in the opener of the six-day competition. 

Making their debut at this level, the Harare-based club, JBC, have bolstered their squad with the inclusion of Senegalese centre Abdoulaye Ndoye and Nigerian big Chris Brown as they aim to become the first team from Zimbabwe to qualify for BAL. 

They have also added former Cape Town Tigers' shooting guard Curtis Hollis who will combine with others who dominated in the qualifiers as they hope to make history. 

Pazi Basketball Club

Elsewhere, NBA Academy Africa who won a friendly match on Sunday, 19 November, against hosts Cape Town Tigers, are next on the floor as they take on the first Tanzanian team to break the Elite 16 jinx, Pazi BBC. 

The Tanzanian side has added to the team's depth with the inclusion of former Rwanda Energy Group (REG) utility player Cleveland Thomas Jr who is expected to combine well with local star Baraka Athumani and former NBA player Hasheem Thabeet, among others to push Pazi's agenda in the 8-team competition.

The third match of the day has coach Mandy Juruni's City Oilers, the nine-time Ugandan champions who had a direct ticket to the Elite 16, opening their campaign against Madagascar champions COSPN.

Cape Town Tigers reached the BAL Quarter-Finals in 2022 and 2023

Cape Town Tigers, who are shooting for another taste of the BAL Final 12 begin their hunt against Robert Mugabe's Dynamo BBC who are in Johannesburg courtesy of a wild card. The Burundian champions were a joy to watch in Dar es Salaam and should they bring the same energy to Johannesburg, they will be ones to watch. 

The podium finishers join three other teams that qualified for BAL Season 4 in Yaounde earlier this month during the West Division Elite 16 where Sporting Club Bangui (Central Africa Republic) and Faith Union Sport (FUS) of Morocco and first-timers Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya sailed through. 

Six other teams - the champions of Angola (Petro de Luanda), Egypt (Al Ahly), Senegal (AS Douanes), Tunisia (US Monastir), Nigeria (yet to be determined) and Rwanda (APR) - have direct tickets, making it 12 for the 2024 BAL Final. 

Tuesday's schedule (21 November):   
Ferroviario da Beira (MOZ) vs JBC (ZIM) - 11:00 (GMT+2)
NBA Academy vs Pazi BBC(TAN) - 14:00 (GMT+2)
City Oilers (UGA) vs COSPN (MAD) - 17:00 (GMT+2)
Cape Town Tigers (RSA) vs Dynamo BBC (BDI)- 20:00 (GMT+2)

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