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Road to BAL 2024: A look at Dynamo, novice but ambitious

Dynamo de Bujumbura
Road to BAL 2024: A look at Dynamo, novice but ambitious

Burundi champions Dynamo enter the Road to BAL competition in Dar es Salaam on October 19. The Burundian team will face Pazi Basket from Tanzania, KPA from Kenya and Sebeta City from Ethiopia. The winner of this group will qualify for the Elite 16. The Burundians are only aiming for the BAL finals.

Dynamo are the third Burundi side to take part in the Road to BAL, following Urunani in 2023 and New Star in 2022. These two teams all failed to reach the elite 16.

This year, the team coached by Kenyan Robert Mugabe intends to do better than these other Burundian teams. "We have very good players who know each other very well. They showed during the Burundi championship that they are currently the best. We've also recruited well to achieve our goal of reaching the final phase, which will be held in Rwanda in 2024. Almost half our players have already had a taste of this kind of match, which is an advantage for us. Frankly, everyone at Dynamo is working hard to make sure we're in Rwanda next year," says Olivier Ndayiragije, Dynamo's assistant coach.

Olivier Ndayiragije explained that they had recruited two players: South Sudanese David Dekong Deng and Nigerian Israel Otobo, as well as two Americans, Ali Hameed Tarik and Quinton Doggett.

In addition to these four foreign players, Dynamo also acquired Burundian players Guibert Nijimbere from Urunani, Clément Kongolo from Gymkhana and Paulin Jimbere from Remesha.

Dynamo missed out on Landry Ndikumana

Dynamo tried to recruit Landry Ndikumana, but to no avail. This player, MVP of the Burundi championship three years running, is the benchmark of Burundian basketball. Dynamo were desperate to sign him, but he had already signed for PAZI of Tanzania.

Dynamo also didn't keep their best player, American Perry William. According to Olivier Ndayiragije, Dynamo wanted to extend his contract, but the player turned down the offer.

These two players would have been of great importance during this campaign.Nevertheless, Dynamo's directors are convinced that they have recruited good players to replace them. Hasheem Thabeet, former NBA star among opponents
Dynamo have found themselves in Group C, which at first glance seems within their grasp. But the team from Bujumbura must be aware that qualification is not a foregone conclusion. It's true that Urunani and New Star made it through to the Elite 16, but this year Dynamo will have to fight very hard to reach this stage of the competition.

This group includes Pazi from Tanzania, who have really stepped up their game. The Tanzanian team began by bringing back local boy Hasheem Thabeet, a former NBA player. A former Houston Rockets, Portland and Oklahoma City player, Thabeet is a major reinforcement. And that's not all, as Pazi have also recruited South Sudanese-born American Dhieu Abwok Deing and Burundian Landry Ndikumana.

On the other hand, Dynamo will also have their work cut out against Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), a highly respected team in the East African region.

Despite these tough opponents, Dynamo fans believe in their team. "We have a very good team capable of representing us well. Our management have recruited experienced players, which reassures us. We're going to accompany our team to Dar es Salam so that the players feel supported. I think we'll qualify for the second round," says Jacques Butoyi, a staunch Dynamo fan.

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