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US-based Big-man Boosts City Oilers BAL Squad

Seven-time record NBL winners City Oilers have boosted their squad for Basketball Africa League quakifiwrs with the addition of Centre Jerry Namdi Okonkwo.

Okonkwo, born in Dallas Texas, is a 7-foot big man of Nigerian decency who recently played for Zamora in Spain.

He has also featured for Oklahoma City Blue (NBA G-League) and Horsens (Denmark) among others.

Okonkwo who attended Phoenix Westwind Academy (High School), played in NCAA with Portland State Vikings and Pacific Tigers, went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Hammer! Namdi Jerry Okonkwo (45). Courtesy photo

Mohamed Ghedi (son to team manager Haji Santur) who was part of Silverbacks squad that secured a 2021 Afrobasket ticket is also part of the team.

John Balwigaire who joined JKL Dolphins and UCU Canons’ Titus Lual have also been training with the team.

Oilers are expected to name their travelling squad before departure on Thursday morning.

They are pitted in Group E alongside Brave Hearts (Malawi), Kurushani Heat (Tanzania) and New Stars (Burundi) for the first round qualifiers that will be played in Dar Es Salaam due October 29-31.

Understanding the BAL Qualifiers (Per FIBA):

The First Round of the BAL Qualifiers are being held from 19-31 October in four African cities, namely Conakry (Guinea), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Yaounde (Cameroon)

This is a qualification pathway for the second edition of the Basketball Africa League.

The Road to BAL 2022 sees a total of 24 teams battle for the right to secure the remaining six slots for the 12-team Final Round of the BAL. 

Six teams – from Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia – have automatic entry to the BAL.

The qualifiers were split into six groups with 12 teams competing in the West Division, and 12 teams drawn in the East Division.

The Road to BAL teams will play three games each in the Group Phase and the teams that finish in the top two places from each group and four other teams will be awarded wild cards to compete in Elite 16 Round to be played in November and December.

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