President of the newly-introduced Basketball Africa League (BAL), Amadou Gallo Fall, has said that, the body will reposition basketball in Africa and build an ecosystem that will be beneficial to stakeholders on the continent.
The BAL, a partnership between FIBA and NBA, is a new professional league in Africa featuring 12 clubs and scheduled to begin in March 2020 after the preliminary round was decided late last year.
The new league marks the NBA’S first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.
At a media roundtable in Lagos, Fall, who also doubles as the Vice President and Managing Director, NBA Africa, said that the aim is to make the competition one of the best professional basketball league in the next 10 years, while assuring that the teams would be supported to run their clubs professionally.
He disclosed that BAL would make further announcement on any change that might occur before the league commences, noting that they are working closely with FIBA on change in venues and other logistics.
“Teams will be playing for prize money and they will be supported to improve their overall organisational capacity. Everything about the league is going to be professional from players welfare to playing surface as well as the running of the league,” stated Fall, a graduate of the University of District of Columbia where he played as a center on its basketball team.
He also stated that the game would be beamed to global audience to enhance its growth and ensure that the fans have access to the game by ensuring that venues are secure and conducive for games.
He revealed that some of the teams were already recruiting players, promising they would be supported to ensure the players’ salaries are paid promptly.
He said coaches, referees and other officials would be trained, while calling on corporate organisations to team up with the league.
He said the dream of making basketball the biggest game in Africa could one day see the women version of the league.
“Our aim is to increase participation and we cannot do that by ignoring half of the population in the continent which is the women.
“The women game has grown and we can how many fans turned up for the final of the Afrobasket last year, when Nigeria defeated home team, Senegal to retain the title. So a female version of BAL is a reality,” Fall noted.