Basketball Africa League blogtable: What SA's writers think

Al Ahly celebrate winning the 2023 Basketball Africa League
JUMPING FOR JOY: Al Ahly celebrate winning the 2023 Basketball Africa League

Mzansi’s sports writers share what they look forward to ahead of the Basketball Africa League’s inaugural Kalahari Conference tip-off in Pretoria this weekend.

The 2024 season starts on Saturday with the first-ever BAL game in SA featuring 2022 runner-up Petro de Luanda (Angola) taking on first-time BAL participant FUS Rabat Basketball (Morocco) at SunBet Arena in Pretoria at 4pm.

All 12 games of the Kalahari Conference group phase will stream on the NBA App,, and the BAL’s YouTube channel.

Fans can purchase their tickets on Ticketmaster.

This is what some of SA’s sports writers are expecting:

Anathi Wulushe (Dispatch/Arena Holdings): It will be interesting to see how first-time BAL participants FUS Rabat Basketball (Morocco) and Dynamo Basketball Club (Burundi) will fare and how far they will go in the competition.

The big question is, will two-time quarterfinalist Cape Town Tigers proceed to the next round and how will starting their campaign on home soil boost the morale and confidence of the team?

How will the blend of their experienced international and domestic players help the side manoeuvre the conference?

Will experienced Petro de Luanda live up to their expectations and finish top of the bunch?

SA sporting fans are sure to give the new Kalahari Conference a great reception throughout the week, bearing in mind that basketball is a growing sport in the country. 

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) tips off at the SunBet Arena on Saturday.

Daniel Mothowagae (City Press/News24): I would like to network with the NBA community as much as possible.

Meeting the players, coaches and officials is the most obvious goal, but I am looking forward to telling their stories, from Africa’s perspective — it’s the BAL after all, a platform that aspiring players use to ascend to the G League and beyond.

Matshelane Mamabolo (The Star/IOL): I am really looking forward to seeing the Cape Town Tigers roaring their way to glory and showing that we — SA — are not only just good at rugby but at basketball as well.

I am excited to see my compatriots packing up the arena in Pretoria and creating an electrifying atmosphere on every game day.

Nandi Ntini (Soweto Urban/Caxton): It’s been almost two years since I’ve been a sports journalist. I grew up as an athlete, a sprinter, and I always wanted to show my peers how being on the field made me feel. But I couldn’t do that. 

I want the players to lay down everything on the court so that I can portray to my readers what it’s like being on the court and playing your heart out. 

I am looking forward to how players will deliver authentic and great games to their fans.

For someone who has never witnessed live basketball games, I am looking forward to the experience and how I will share it with my readers.

I’m looking forward to seeing teamwork and most importantly winning. I’m looking forward to the unity that sports ignite. 

Sindiswa Mabunda (The Big Tip Off): The Cape Town Tigers have thrilled viewers for the past three seasons as they represented SA in the BAL, facing off against the best talent on the continent.

Basketball is gaining popularity in SA, with the Tigers playing a key role in driving its growth.

However, the league has often gone unnoticed, and many South Africans only discover it after it has taken place.

I am excited to get a first-hand experience of the level of competition on the continent, but to also get to share this experience with other sports enthusiasts who will get a first-hand taste of the beauty of the sport, the culture surrounding it, and the many nail-biting moments that the competition is sure to produce as SA stands behind the Tigers!

Emmanuel Shine (The Big Tip Off): What I’m looking forward to the most is the level of competition. With teams from Angola, Burundi, SA and Morocco, we’re sure to be entertained with all the “oohs” and “aahs”.

The other thing to look forward to is the mesh of culture and basketball.

As we all know, SA is a country full of culture and is on a historic run with success in various sporting codes, so to have that culture meeting basketball is fantastic.

High school sports are also big in SA and to know that various schools will be there watching and bringing that cheering spirit at the BAL would be great.

This conference is the first of 2024 and will set the tone for the other conferences this year. — BAL



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