Egypt’s Al Ahly Crowned 2023 Basketball Africa League Champions

Kigali – Egypt’s Al Ahly defeated Senegal’s AS Douanes 80-65 to win the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) ( Finals, which took place at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

The final was broadcast to 214 countries and territories in 17 languages.

Following the game, BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall and FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave presented Al Ahly with the BAL Championship Trophy.

Al Ahly forward Anunwa “Nuni” Omot was presented with The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy for winning the 2023 BAL Most Valuable Player Award. 

Omot recorded per game averages of 18.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists during the season.

Al Ahly went 7-1 during the Nile Conference group phase and Playoffs, defeating Rwanda Energy Group and Mali’s Stade Malien in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to advance to the Finals. 

Stade Malien defeated Angola’s Club Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Petro de Luanda) 73-65 in the third-place game yesterday.

Notable attendees throughout the 2023 BAL Playoffs and Finals included NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum; FIBA President Hamane Niang; FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis; NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams; Fall; Manave; FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bilé; Toronto Raptors Vice-Chairman and Team President Masai Ujiri; Academy Award-winning actor, social activist and NBA Africa investor Forest Whitaker; BAL Ambassadors and NBA Africa investors Luol Deng (South Sudan), Joakim Noah (grandfather from Cameroon) and Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin); and New York Knicks President of G League Operations Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Ghana).

The league has also announced several end-of-season awards, some of which honor pioneering African NBA legends:

2023 BAL Coach of the Year

AS Douanes head coach Mamadou Gueye led his team to a 3-2 record in the Sahara Conference group phase before defeating Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviário da Beira (CFV-Beira) and Petro de Luanda to advance to the Finals. Gueye becomes the first African-born coach to win the award.

2023 BAL Defensive Player of the Year

Stade Malien center Aliou Diarra received The Dikembe Mutombo Trophy after helping his team to a 5-3 record and recording per game averages of 18.3 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

2023 BAL Sportsmanship Award

CFV-Beira guard Will Perry received The Manute Bol Trophy for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

2023 All-BAL First Team

Position                   Player                                          Team

Guard                       Jean Jacques Boissy                    AS Douanes

Guard                       Chris Crawford                              AS Douanes

Guard                       Dane Miller Jr.                               S.L.A.C

Forward                    Anunwa Omot                               Al Ahly

Forward                    Aliou Diarra                                   Stade Malien

2023 All-BAL Defensive Team

Position                   Player                                           Team

Guard                      Childe Dundao                               Petro de Luanda

Guard                      Jean Jacques Boissy                     AS Douanes

Guard                      Samkelo Cele                                Cape Town Tigers

Forward                    Aliou Diarra                                   Stade Malien

Center                      Ater Majok                                     Petro de Luanda

The voting panels were comprised of coaches, team captains, media and broadcasters in attendance and varied for each award. 

The 2023 BAL Ubuntu Award, which is awarded to an individual or organisation that has made an impact on the local community during the BAL season, will be announced at a later date.

The 2023 BAL season once again featured the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries playing a total of 38 games in Dakar, Senegal; Cairo, Egypt; and Kigali, Rwanda over three months. 

Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia earned their participation in the 2023 BAL season by winning their respective national leagues.

The remaining six teams, which came from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, South Africa and Uganda, secured their participation through the Road to the BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Africa across the continent from October to November 2022.