*City Oilers (Uganda) Vs COSPN (Madagascar), 12:30pm
Elite 16 (East Division)
*Group A – Cape Town (South Africa), NBA Academy Africa, KPA (Kenya), Urunani (Burundi)
*Group B – Ferroviario da Beira (Mozambique), City Oilers (Uganda), COSPN (Madagascar), Matero Magic (Zambia)
City Oilers will be hoping for a perfect start when they face off with Madagascar’s Club Omnisports Police National (COSPN) in their Group B opener at the Elite 16 of the Basketball Africa League qualifiers in South Africa.
This is the last stage of qualification, with the top three teams in the East Division booking tickets to the BAL, an equivalent of Football’s CAF Champions League.
Oilers therefore need to finish among the top two in Group B to reach the semis, and a win thereafter (which takes them to the final) will ensure their qualification.
A loss at the semifinal will leave them with a win or die match for a third place slot.
Oilers have failed to qualify for the two editions of BAL, but have reached this stage of Elite 16 including pulling out last year due to Omicron Virus in South Africa where the Elite 16 was also hosted.
They moved to South Africa after qualifying via the Road To BAL qualifiers held last month in Dar Es Salaam, in Tanzania.
In Dar, they beat Army Basketball Club (ABC) and Matero Magic, despite falling to Urunani, to progress.
Coach Mande Juruni will feel confident of breaking the jinx after improving his squad with a couple of additions including UCU Canons due of Fayed Bbale and Titus Lual.
Tyra Petty and Moses Maker have been dropped from the team that played in Dar while the trio of William Ngor Barnaba, Uchechi Nnamdi Ogbona and Jones Falando are the other additions.
National team captain Jimmy Enabu recovered from the injury he picked during the NBL playoffs finals series victory against Nam Blazers and made the trip.
Against COSPN, they face a side that beat Comoros club Djabal Club and Kenya Ports Authority in the ROAD TO BAL to reach the Elite 16.
Coach Jean De Dieu Randrianarivelo will be banking on Elly Randriamampionona, Livio Ratianarivo and Rashawn Langston to get the job done.
COSPN seek to become the second club from Madagascar to qualify for BAL after Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club (GNBC).
The top three teams in Division East will join the top three teams in the West Division (SLAC, ABC Fighters and Stade Malien) to BAL finals.
Those six qualified teams will be joined by the champions of Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia, who all qualified automatically to make it 12 teams for the BAL finals that will be held next year in Rwanda.