Egypt’s Al Ahly defeated Senegal’s AS Douanes 80-65 to win the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) Finals, which took place at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda and reached fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages.
Following the game, BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall and FIBA Africa President Anibal Manave presented Al Ahly with the BAL Championship Trophy and Al Ahly forward Anunwa “Nuni” Omot with The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy for winning the 2023 BAL Most Valuable Player Award. Omot recorded per game averages of 18.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists during the season.
Al Ahly went 7-1 during the Nile Conference group phase and Playoffs, defeating Rwanda Energy Group and Mali’s Stade Malien in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to advance to the Finals. Stade Malien defeated Angola’s Club Atlético Petróleos de Luanda (Petro de Luanda) 73-65 in the third-place game yesterday.
Notable attendees throughout the 2023 BAL Playoffs and Finals included NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum; FIBA President Hamane Niang; FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis; NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams; Fall; Manave; FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bilé; Toronto Raptors Vice-Chairman and Team President Masai Ujiri; Academy Award-winning actor, social activist and NBA Africa investor Forest Whitaker; BAL Ambassadors and NBA Africa investors Luol Deng (South Sudan), Joakim Noah (grandfather from Cameroon) and Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin); and New York Knicks President of G League Operations Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Ghana).
The league has also announced several end-of-season awards, some of which honor pioneering African NBA legends:
2023 BAL Coach of the Year
AS Douanes head coach Mamadou Gueye led his team to a 3-2 record in the Sahara Conference group phase before defeating Mozambique’s Clube Ferroviário da Beira (CFV-Beira) and Petro de Luanda to advance to the Finals. Gueye becomes the first African-born coach to win the award.
2023 BAL Defensive Player of the Year
Stade Malien center Aliou Diarra received The Dikembe Mutombo Trophy after helping his team to a 5-3 record and recording per game averages of 18.3 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
2023 BAL Sportsmanship Award
CFV-Beira guard Will Perry received The Manute Bol Trophy for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
2023 All-BAL First Team
Jean Jacques Boissy
Dane Miller Jr.
2023 All-BAL Defensive Team
Petro de Luanda
Jean Jacques Boissy
Cape Town Tigers
Petro de Luanda
The voting panels were comprised of coaches, team captains, media and broadcasters in attendance and varied for each award. The 2023 BAL Ubuntu Award, which is awarded to an individual or organization that has made an impact on the local community during the BAL season, will be announced at a later date.
The 2023 BAL season once again featured the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries playing a total of 38 games in Dakar, Senegal; Cairo, Egypt; and Kigali, Rwanda over three months. Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the 2023 BAL season by winning their respective national leagues. The remaining six teams, which came from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, South Africa and Uganda, secured their participation through the Road to the BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Africa across the continent from October to November 2022.