City Oilers ready to carry Ugandan flag

National Basketball League champions City Oilers will represent Uganda at the upcoming Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers in Dar el Salam, Tanzania.

While two teams will qualify to the next stage, Oilers have their sight on finishing the tournament as the number one team.

Head coach Mandy Juruni believes his side has whatever it takes to achieve this target.

“We know how tough the competition is but we have prepared very well and are ready for the challenge,” Juruni said ahead of the campaign.

“It is a good opportunity for us to gauge ourselves against some of the best teams on the continent.” He added.

The BAL qualifiers will, unlike Zone 5, feature teams from other zones.  

Robinson Opong, Stanley Ocitti and Jordin Mayes have been called up by the Oilers to beef up.

Opong is equally optimistic Oilers have enough in the tank to go all the way.

The shooting guard was part of the Oilers team that lifted the Zone 5 Clubs championship in Kampala in 2017.

“We are confident going into the tournament and the goal is for us to win it.” He said.

Oilers are in group D alongside Patriots (Rwanda), JKT (Tanzania), Brave Hearts (Malawi) and Hawassa (Ethiopia).

The tournament will run from October 15th to 20th and Oilers are expected to leave for Tanzania on Sunday.

Of the 31 teams grouped by FIBA Africa, 16 will make it to the next phase of the qualifiers.

Another four teams will drop off from the second phase to leave only 12 that will compete in the inaugural Basketball Africa League set for March next 2020.

Six cities will then host the regular season with the 12 teams divided into two conferences.

The regular season will see the 12 teams play five games each for a total of 30 games, with the top three teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs.

The six playoff teams – the ‘Super 6’ will play in a round-robin format to determine the four teams that will advance to the BAL Final Four and BAL Final in Kigali, Rwanda in late spring 2020.

The BAL Final Four and BAL Final will be single-elimination games.