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BAL: City Oilers Have Work Cut Out Against Petro de Luanda

Basketball Africa League

Nile Conference Group

•Al Ahly (Egypt) 92-74 CFV Beira (Mozambique)

•SLAC (Guinea) Vs Cape Town (South Africa), 6pm
•Petro Atletico (Angola) Vs City Oilers (Uganda) 9:30pm

It’s a huge mountain to climb as Uganda’s representatives City Oilers face off with African powerhouse Petro de Luanda of Angola in their opening game of the Basketball Africa League.

This is the Nile Conference group that is being played at the Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo, Egypt.

The other four teams in the group are hosts Al Ahly (Egypt), Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), Clube Ferroviário da Beira (Mozambique) and Seydou Legacy Athlétique Club (S.L.A.C, Guinea).

The top four teams from this group will join ABC Fighters (Côte d’Ivoire), AS Douanes (Senegal), REG (Rwanda) and Stade Malien (Mali) who already qualified from Sahara group, to the BAL Playoffs at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda in May.

After Petro on Thursday, Oilers will then play Al Ahly on Saturday, SLAC on Tuesday, CFV Beira on Friday and Cape Town on Saturday.

The Oilers qualified for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) after beating Urunani in the Third-Place playoff game in Elite 16 Division East Group F at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg on Sunday last year in November.

City Oilers Seek To Impress

City Oilers, just like Al Ahly, are making their debut at this stage.

This, is in contrast with Petro who have taken part in the last three editions!

The Ugandan side will be banking on their new addition James Justice Junior, a left-handed guard who was recently featuring for Egyptian side Gezira.

Segun Ezekiel Obe is the 13th member of the Oilers roster as an addition by BAL from the Junior NBA.

Coach Mandy Juruni will also be hoping for big contributions from Germaine Roebuck Jr, William Ngor and Fallando Jones who were part of the team at the Elite 16 (Bal qualifiers) in Cape Town last year in November.

Local based players including Jimmy Enabu and James Okello have gained vast experience having played at this similar stage with the National team (Silverbacks) at World Cup Qualifiers and Afrobasket.

This stage is a dream-come-true for the Oilers and their management who have dominated the local scene with eight straight league titles, and will feel it’s the right time to rub shoulders with the Big boys.

And this is a good platform for the young blood like Fayed Bbale and Titus Lual Odeke to showcase their assets.

It’s strong to note that the Oilers competed at the FIBA Africa Club Champions Cup twice, in 2016 (Egypt) and 2017 (Tunisia) finishing 9th and 5th respectively, before the tournament was replaced by this prestigious BAL tournament.

Stacked Petro Heavy Favourites

Petro have won the Angolan league titles 16 times, three adrift of record winners Primeiro de Agosto.

They are a force to reckon on the African continent having won the now defunct FIBA African Champions Cup in 2006 and 2015.

In this new BAL, they finished third place in the debut season in 2021 before reaching the finals where they were beaten by US Monastir last year.

They are heavy favourites against Ugandan side Oilers, and the Nile Conference. And without defending champions Monastir going into the Playoffs in Kigali, Petro will be backing their chances to win the overall title next month.

They went to Cairo with a fully loaded squad littered with vast experience.

They added two players from last season’s champions US Monastir – Ater Majok and Souleymane Diabate.

Majok was a 58th overall pick in 2011 NBA draft for the LA Lakers.

Petro also have renown shooting guard Carlos Morais who was the MVP in 2012 FIBA Africa Champions Cup and has as well featured in the NBA with Toronto Raptors. He has as well represented Angola national team at three World Cups and 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Add Childe Dundao and Abou Gakou on that roster, and Petro will be the team to beat.

How to Watch – The games are live on ESPN which can be accessed on StarTimes and DStv

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