Al Ahly’s Sensational Triumph: Defeating AS Douanes to Claim 2023 BAL Championship
Al Ahly, the Egyptian basketball powerhouse, has emerged victorious in a sensational showdown, defeating Senegal’s AS Douanes to claim the coveted title of the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) Champions. The highly anticipated BAL Finals, held in Kigali, Rwanda, captivated fans across 214 countries and territories in 17 different languages.
In a thrilling game that showcased their skill and determination, Al Ahly dominated the court, securing an impressive 80-65 victory over AS Douanes. The win marked a historic moment for Al Ahly and reaffirmed their status as one of the premier basketball teams in Africa.
Following the final buzzer, BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall and FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave presented Al Ahly with the prestigious BAL Championship Trophy. Additionally, Al Ahly’s forward, Anunwa “Nuni” Omot, received The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy, recognizing him as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2023 BAL. Omot’s exceptional contributions throughout the season, with per-game averages of 18.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, solidified his well-deserved recognition as the tournament’s standout player.
Al Ahly’s journey to the BAL Finals was marked by their remarkable performance in the Nile Conference group phase and Playoffs. Finishing with a stellar 7-1 record, they showcased their dominance by overcoming formidable opponents such as Rwanda Energy Group and Stade Malien from Mali in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals, respectively. Their path to the championship highlighted their unwavering determination and their ability to rise to the occasion when it mattered most.
The BAL Finals not only showcased the excellence of Al Ahly but also saw AS Douanes securing a well-deserved spot as runners-up. AS Douanes, led by head coach Mamadou Gueye, displayed their talent and resilience throughout the tournament. Gueye’s outstanding leadership made him the first African-born coach to receive the BAL Coach of the Year award. AS Douanes’ impressive journey to the Finals, including victories over Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviario da Beira and Angolas Club Atletico Petróleos de Luanda (Petro de Luanda), solidified their standing as a formidable force in African basketball.
The BAL Finals attracted notable attendees, including NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum, FIBA President Hamane Niang, and NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams, among others. The presence of these influential figures further underscored the significance of the BAL as a platform for promoting African basketball talent and fostering international collaboration.
The conclusion of the BAL season was also marked by several prestigious awards. Stade Malien’s center, Aliou Diarra, was honored with The Dikembe Mutombo Trophy as the Defensive Player of the Year, thanks to his exceptional contributions to his team’s success. CFV-Beira’s guard, Will Perry, exemplified sportsmanship and camaraderie, earning him The Manute Bol Trophy for the 2023 BAL Sportsmanship Award.
The 2023 All-BAL First Team comprised outstanding players who left their mark on the tournament. Jean Jacques Boissy and Chris Crawford from AS Douanes, Dane Miller Jr. from S.L.A.C., Anunwa Omot from Al Ahly, and Aliou Diarra from Stade Malien showcased their remarkable skills and were recognized for their contributions to their respective teams’ journeys.
The 2023 BAL season was a testament to the growth and competitiveness of African basketball. The participation of top club teams from 12 African countries and the electrifying atmosphere created by passionate fans further solidified the BAL as a premier basketball event