25 March 2019

Kenyan Clubs Eager for NBA Africa League

Could Ulinzi Warriors, Kenya Ports Authority and Equity Bank teams be lining up for the first ever professional basketball league in Africa set to tip off early next year?

This is the question on the lips of most basketball fans after the two teams recruited the crème de la crème ofKenyan basketball during the just concluded basketball transfer period.

The NBA will be launching a professional basketball league in Africa that will feature 12 teams from several countries across the continent.

The league will be referred to as the Basketball Africa League and will feature teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

The NBA announced the plan alongside the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and will conduct qualification tournaments later this year in a move expected to unify several basketball teams across Africa under one umbrella and provide among others resources and visibility.

Ulinzi Warriors, who won their third straight match at the weekend after beating Strathmore Blades 71-53, and Equity Bank who beat Kenya College of Accountancy University 67-32, are however the biggest beneficiaries after getting the signatures of international stars to add to already big squads they had last season.

With red-hot Eric Mutoro, Tiberius Menya and ageless William Ochieng still enjoying good form, Ulinzi Warriors have added Kenya's arguably best shooting guard, Victor Bosire, stylish forward James Mwangi from KPA, while Joseph Situma Khaemba joined from City Oilers of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Equity, who had former US-based Feisal Aden cleared before the weekend match and who scored a whooping 23 points in their 67-32 demolition of KCA at the weekend, are also boasting of Dan Omondi, Victor Electric Ochieng and Moses Wanjara from KPA among others stars, while KPA who retired Tobias Onyango, Aru Ramadham and Ali Mzee, have recruited Job Byron, lanky Paul Ekiru, Kevin Wachira, Gerry Wekesa and Tony Okello from Ulinzi, making the battle for this year's top prize tricky.

Former US President Barack Obama is among those who are expected to have direct involvement with the league's operations.

Qualification tournaments will begin later in the year and no nation will have more than two teams in the league.

The NBA and FIBA's involvement will include financial support and resources towards continued growth of the game on the continent, as well as providing training for players, coaches and referees, as well as some infrastructure for the new league.

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