Rwanda Energy Group (REG) captain Olivier Shyaka has said his side is “ready to hoop” for the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) championship, citing the current pace of preparations as a major factor.
Kigali will welcome the third edition of the NBA-affiliated league (BAL) whose playoffs will bring together eight teams from Sahara and Nile Conferences, all contesting for the coveted championship from Saturday, May 20 through May 27 at BK Arena.
And, for the second time representing Rwandan at the continental elite club basketball showpiece, REG want to turn themselves from BAL contenders into champions.
Shyaka was part of the REG side that was eliminated from the BAL quarter finals I Kigali last season after falling to a 63-66 shock defeat to Cameroon’s FAP.
The forward admits that everybody at REG had picked some lessons from the results before assuring Rwandans that the dressing room is ambitious about achieving glory.
“It would be a shame to host the BAL three times in a row with no home team going on to at least reach the final. That’s exactly our goal this year because we’ve got everything possible to achieve it,”Shyaka told Times Sport.
Rwanda Energy Group (REG) are up for a do or die matchup with Al Ahly on Saturday, May 20.
Shyaka knows the threat the Egyptians may pose to his team but remains confident that they are ready to make the best of the home support to ‘pass the test.’
“Al Ahly is a big club in Africa but we have worked for it. We will be at home and we promise success to Rwandans. All we ask them is to support us and pray for us,”He said.
Four Nile Conference teams Petro de Luanda, Al Ahly, Cape Town Tigers and Ferroviario da Beira last week booked their tickets to the BAL playoffs, joining Sahara Conference counterparts REG, Mali’s Stade Malien, Cote d’Ivoire’s ABC Fighters, and Senegal’s AS Douanes.
Besides the REG-Al Ahly matchup, Nile Conference champions Petro de Luanda will face Côte d’Ivoire’s ABC Fighters while Sahara Conference champions will take on Cape Town Tigers as AS Douanes awaits a test against CF Beira.
Tunisia’s US Monastir are the BAL reigning champions despite failing to make it to the 2023 BAL playoffs after finishing fifth in the Sahara Conference.
Source: The New Times