Coronavirus Delays Basketball Africa League

By Daily Sports on March 7, 2020

Amid rising coronavirus fears, the new Basketball Africa League will postpone the inaugural games that had been set for this month, league chief Amadou Galo Fall told VOA Thursday.

“We have decided to delay the launch and we are planning to launch later this year as soon as we get more clarity about the situation,” Fall, who is also National Basketball Association vice president and managing director for Africa, said by phone from Dakar, Senegal on Thursday. The new league is a joint effort between the International Basketball Federation and the NBA.

The much-anticipated basketball league was gearing up to open with a full slate of games between teams in 12 African countries. In a promotional video produced for the launch of the BAL, retired Congolese professional basketball player Dikembe Mutombo praised the league’s potential to showcase African basketball talent.

“For so long we knew the continent of Africa was a continent full of treasure,” he said. “It was a question of time for those who want to go and find it.”

The timing, however, is now uncertain as the BAL hasn’t set dates for the start of the league, which includes teams from Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco, Madagascar, Mali, Cameroon, Mozambique and Rwanda. 

Ogoh Odaudu, head coach of the Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club, a BAL team based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, said the postponement may have an upside.

“It is very disappointing but we, of course, we have to think about our safety first before anything happens,” he told VOA English-to-Africa's "Sonny Side of Sports" radio program. “And also, for us as a team, it is a blessing in disguise because now we will get more time to actually prepare more and let our foreign players blend more with the team.”

Odaudu said the team would resume practicing on Monday and he planned to take the team to Lagos to compete in friendly matches with other local teams.

“Instead of the two weeks, which we’d have had with our import players, we will have more time to blend, for the team to blend together,” he said.

The league is not alone in the world of sports in grappling with the virus. International tennis and golf tournaments scheduled to take place in China, Japan and Italy have been canceled. Italy has also postponed matches in its Serie A football league and may resume without allowing fans to attend. In some European football leagues, players are being advised not to shake hands as is customary after matches.

“It is a global situation as you know. Events and global meetings are being canceled all over the world so we are not immune to that,” Fall said.

Fall insists the delays are only a speed bump and the league will still be as successful as organisers had hoped.

“We are fully committed to launching as soon as the situation clears up. Nothing has changed. We are excited, the team is excited, the fans are excited and we are anticipating and looking forward to the launch of the league,” he said.

•PHOTO: Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA vice president and managing director-Africa, speaks during the opening ceremony for Basketball without Borders Africa at the American International School in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 1, 2018

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 7, 2020


You may also like...
Iheanacho Goes Down With Leicester As Aston Villa...

Rio 2016 - Oyedeji quits D'Tigers

U20 WWC Qualifiers: Falconets Go Goal Crazy As...

126 young golfers storm Abuja for IBB Golf...

Arsenal, Man City Set For New Year Day...

Mourinho Rules Out Using Bale As Striker


Latest News Kane eyes EPL history after breaking Tottenham goal record Osimhen tears away from Lookman Russian league debut win excites Quadri Aruna Earthquake: All Nigerian players in Turkey safe —NFF I want to win Champions League – Osimhen Bola Tinubu Employs Desperation, Blackmail To Ride To Power Blames FG On his Woes! • Abia State PDP In Search Of Identity… I’d love to play next to Bassey – De Boer Iwobi sends Arsenal message after Everton win Oshoala hits third hat-trick in Barca win Osimhen happy to make Napoli history Saints boss applauds Onuachu after EPL debut Hearn says Joshua, Franklin fight not signed


Most Read Rangers International going, going . . . (50,624 views) Amaju Pinnick: A cat with nine lives (41,886 views) Second Term: Amaju Pinnick, Other NFF Heavyweights Home to Roost •How Pinnick Broke the Jinx (40,225 views) Missing $150,000 IAAF Grant: Solomon Dalung’s Hide and Seek game (40,170 views) Sports Development: Zenith Bank on the zenith (39,914 views) Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje’s solid footprints, commitment to sports development in Kano State (39,846 views) Current issues in Nigerian sports: Matters arising (39,507 views) NFF Presidency: Pinnick, Maigari, Ogunjobi, Okoye in Battle for Supremacy (38,881 views) Olopade, BET9A wave of revolution in NNL (38,230 views) Commonwealth Games 2018: Shame of Muhammadu Buhari, Solomon Dalung (37,084 views) Ibrahimovic’s Man U exit: Whose decision is it? And in whose interest? (35,494 views) John Mikel Obi: Segun Odegbami’s Outrageous Call! (35,045 views)


Phone numbers

Tel: +234(0)8066020976

Email addresses

Office address

No 3, Adetoun Close, Off College Road, Ogba, Ikeja Lagos.

Social Media