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BAL 2024: Dynamo leave Pretoria in pain

BAL 2024: Dynamo leave Pretoria in pain

Burundi's Dynamo basketball team is not allowed to continue its adventure in Pretoria, where the fourth edition of the Basketball Africa League is taking place. The team from Bujumbura has been handed a second forfeit synonymous with direct elimination. Fans of the orange ball in Burundi are in total disarray.

The news broke very early in the morning of Tuesday March 12. It was announced by BAL president Amadou Gallo Fallo. Dynamo refused to wear jerseys with the "Visit Rwanda" logo, which is a flagrant violation of the law governing the BAL. Under the injunctions of Burundi Basketball Federation President Jean Paul Manirakiza, Dynamo did it again for the game against Petro de Luanda, refusing to wear the "Visit Rwanda" jerseys. Dynamo then forfeited the match, their second after the one against FUS Raba, which meant direct elimination from the BAL. This measure was greeted with regret by all those involved in the sport. They don't understand how a club which had started the competition well by beating Cape Town Tigers (86-73) can fall victim to the decisions of "bad" managers.

Players in a state of total distress

When the Dynamo players heard the bad news, everyone was devastated. The first to react was Senegal's Makhtar Guèye.On his Instagram account, he wrote that he had never experienced such a situation in his life, that his heart was full of grief. Alvin Ninziza, meanwhile, told Sport News Africa that they have no words to describe what they are going through. "We're in a situation that's hard to describe. Everyone's wondering what's happened to us, but we can't find an answer. We know it's over for us.We're like a student who has revised his lessons properly but is prevented from taking his exam.We've spent almost two months preparing, but now we're going home by the back door because of people who don't like our sport, and that's a shame," laments the Dynamo captain.

In this uncomfortable situation in which the players of our team find themselves, we have to stay close to them to comfort them," says Olivier Ndayiragije, assistant coach of this team. "Our players need moral support. They're morally destroyed. Our job is to tell them to stay calm until any sanctions are imposed. Our managers are still negotiating with the governing bodies of BAL to make them understand that the club is in no way responsible for what happened. We hope that the BAL management will be lenient, otherwise spending five years without any basketball-related activity would be synonymous with burying this sport, which was booming in our country. It's regrettable that the injunctions of the president of our federation are at the root of our elimination, but we hope that he will pay sooner or later".

Enraged fans

Fervent Dynamo fans are calling for the federation president's resignation."If he's honest, he should resign because he's demonstrated his inability to manage the sport. Let him go to his church where he can do what he wants. Let him leave us our basketball because he understands absolutely nothing about it. Frankly, he's useless. He has no place in sport. Some basketball fans can't understand how a federation can be run by what they call incompetents who ruin the hopes of young people, as Lionel Ninteretse points out. "The decisions taken by the sport's leaders in Burundi to prevent our young people from wearing jerseys with the Visit Rwanda logo shows the amateurism of our sporting and political leaders. Even if Burundi were in conflict with Rwanda, why mix sport and politics? Our leaders must know that they are destroying the future of our young people, but that this is not the solution to this conflict. Our young people are being sacrificed for personal interests, which is regrettable.

Since the announcement of the sanctions against Dynamo early on Tuesday March 12, there has been a spate of resignations from the Burundi Basketball Federation. If this pace continues, President Jean Paul Manirakiza risks finding himself totally isolated within the federation. Meanwhile, Dynamo players are expected in Bujumbura on Thursday March 14. Fans of the club and sports fans in general have promised to give a warm welcome to the unfortunate players, victims of a situation for which they are not responsible.

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