Rivers Hoopers Target Win Over Patriotic BBC In BAL Opener
By Niyi Busari
Nigeria representative at the maiden Basketball African League (BAL), Rivers Hoopers are optimistic of picking the maximum point in the opening match of the maiden edition of the competition in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Patriots will play in the first BAL game on Sunday morning against Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers.
Delayed by Covid for over a year, the continent’s new pan-African basketball league will finally tip-off today Sunday 16 May.
Backed by the NBA, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) features 12 teams from 12 countries.
Africa’s top basketball club sides are set to face off from Sunday in the Rwandan capital Kigali in a new professional competition designed to promote the sport, drive economic growth and unearth the best up and coming talent.
Such aims are part of the reason for the involvement of the NBA, which is helping to organise a league outside of the United States for the first time.
Former NBA player and Nigeria international Ben Uzoh will be playing for Nigerian club River Hoopers at the Basketball Africa League.
Basketball’s world governing body Fiba is also involved in the hunt for the next Joel Embiid (Cameroon) or Pascal Siakam (Congo)
Rivers Hoopers was established in 2009 as Royal Hoopers. The team won its first NPL championship in 2011.
In December 2018, Hoopers played in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Championship and won all five games to emerge as its Champions and went on to play in the 2019 Africa Basketball League in March. On 17 November 2019, the Hoopers won its third Nigerian title when it beat Raptors in the final. With this achievement, the team qualified directly for the inaugural season of Basketball Africa League (BAL).