Uganda League champions City Oilers will be in action against Matero Magic (Zambia) on Friday afternoon in the opening match of the qualifier for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) of Group C.
The qualifier was initially scheduled to take place in Uganda, but FIBA Africa moved it to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to run October 28-30th at the Benjamin Mpaka National Indoor Stadium.
Fresh from winning the Uganda League title for a straight 8th time City Oilers will be hoping to have a good start before they take on Burundi’s Urunani and ABC in the next two matches.
“The playoffs in the League in Uganda gave us the best preparations. Everyone is game fit. Though it left us with a few injuries and tired bodies. But it's okay, the players will play through it,” said City Oilers’ head Coach Mande Juruni.
The team will however miss the services of experienced point guard Jimmy Enabu who is nursing an injury.
“Enabu is an important player for the team and if he is not playing we always miss him. But I believe we have enough guards to fill up that gap but with different strengths,” said coach Juruni.
Following the withdrawal of Ethiopia's Hawassa City, four teams will battle in Group C looking to secure the two tickets on offer for the Elite 16 Round. The teams that will battle for the two slots include; Army Basketball Club (Tanzania), Urunani BBC (Burundi), City Oilers (Uganda) and Matero Magic (Zambia).
In its inaugural edition, the Ugandan side went past this stage (Road to BAL) but were stopped at the Elite 16 after defeats to Patriots (Rwanda) and Maputo (Mozambique) in the 2019 qualifiers.
In 2021, for the 2022 BAL, Oilers qualified past the Road to BAL stage in Tanzania but withdrew from the Elite Round due to Amicron Virus in South Africa.