Seychelles' Beau Vallon team participates in Basketball Africa League
Beau Vallon Heat in white and purple in action against PLS Hawks in May in the final of the Curtain-raiser tournament at the Victoria Gymnasium. (Seychelles Nation)
Seychelles basketball league champions, Beau Vallon Heat, will compete in the Elite 16 round of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) with the aim to seek a spot in Africa's premier basketball tournament.
The Seychelles side is participating for the second time in the tournament that will take place in Madagascar, from October 3-7.
Beau Vallon Heat has been drawn in group E of the East Division, together with Club Omnisport de La Police Nationale (COSPN) of Madagascar and Comoros champions Ushindzi. The Mauritius' Roche-Bois Warriors team is also part of the group.
Only the winner of the group will qualify for the Elite 16 round in which the teams will be divided between the East and West divisions. The top three from each division will qualify for the 2024 BAL season, which will bring together the top 12 teams from the continent.
"Compared to 2019, this year we do not have to compete with teams from mainland Africa. This means Beau Vallon Heat has the chance to go further this year," said the club's vice-chairman Riyad Balette.
In 2019, Heat was drawn in Group F of the qualifiers and managed one win, and lost three matches and finished fourth in the five team standings.
Their only win came through a walkover against Comoros' Usoni Club de Mutsamudu.
The other teams in the group were Kenya Port Authority, Gendarmerie from Madagascar and South Sudan's Cobra Sport.
Founded in 2019, BAL was established by both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Each season runs from March to May and the current format consists of 12 teams. Each of the team has to qualify through their domestic competition, a meritocratic system similar to the format of the UEFA Champions League.
Six teams qualify directly, while six others have to play in the Road to BAL.
The four highest-placed teams of each conference advance to the playoffs, which is a single-elimination tournament that decides the BAL champion, who automatically qualifies for the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.
The first season was held in 2021 and thus far, three champions have won the competition. They are Al Ahly and Zamalek from Egypt and US Monastir from Tunisia.