Seven strong basketball clubs have already been confirmed for the debut season of the newly introduced African Basketball League (ABL), which will officially get underway in the tail end of January, 2016.
At the launch of the unique Basketball League in Lagos, Ugo Udezue, CEO of the African Sports Entertainment, emphasized that the ABL was set up primarily for the purpose of improving socio-economic development of the African continent via Tourism and Sports.
The former professional basketball star said much hard work had gone into making the ABL a huge success right from its first season and that he was confident the dream tied to the project would be realised sooner rather than later.
Ugo said,’’ Yes, we are the investors in ABL but the credit does not belong to us, yes we are a private entity but profits are not our motivation. If it was just about profits I won’t be standing here this moment.
He continued: “If it was profit we don’t have to pay players the way we are going to because the market value doesn’t dictate we do. Yes we have worked hard to put together this opportunity but the credit goes to the cities that we will represent like Lagos state, like Abidjan, like Libreville, like Dakar. Our purpose is larger than ourselves; our purpose is not for today but to lay the groundwork in sports for our future generations. ‘’
Ugo added that the goal of the ABL was to create jobs and build an ecosystem that benefits the African environment.
He gave accolades to others who invested private money in sports before, amongst them ex-National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Obinna Ekezie,Sam Ahmedu, Damoye Oyesiku, Ayo Bakare, Toyin Sonoiki, Musa Adamu, Lamine Savane, Sound Sultan and Babs Ogunade.
The ABL will start at the end of January 2016. It is a private league that will adopt a round-robin format.
The teams that will be involved in the inaugural edition of the league are Lagos Islanders, Stallions, Lagos City Chiefs and Lagos Warriors Basket Club (all Nigerian clubs), Dakar Rapids (Senegal) Abidjan Ramblers ( Cote D’Ivoire) and Izobe Basketball Club from Libreville, Gabon.