NEW YORK: The NBA-backed Basketball Africa League (BAL) unveiled host cities Tuesday for its inaugural season, with Kigali, Rwanda, as the named host city for the first semi-final and championship games.
Cairo, Egypt; Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; Luanda, Angola; Rabat, Morocco and a Tunisian city, Tunis or Monastir, were announced as the sites for BAL regular-season games.
The BAL, featuring 12 club teams from across Africa, is set to begin play in March 2020.
“Today’s announcements mark another important milestone as we head into what will be a historic first season,” BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall said.
The 12 teams will be divided into two six-team conferences, each conference playing games in three of the six host cities.
Each team will play five regular-season games, with the top three clubs in each conference advancing to the playoffs.
The “Super Six” will play a round-robin format to determine the BAL Final Four that advance to Kigali in late spring 2020 for the single-game elimination semi-finals and final.
The BAL also announced Nike and the Jordan Brand would each provide the official uniforms and gear for six of the clubs in the league’s first business partnership.
The NBA announced its first collaboration to operate a league outside North America in February, working alongside world governing body FIFA.
Both plan to dedicate financial support and resources for training of African players, coaches and referees.