Basketball Africa League have announced the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the 2023 BAL season which will tipoff on Saturday, 11 March in Dakar.

The 12 teams include defending BAL champion US Monastir (Tunisia) and five other teams returning from the 2022 season.

Five teams will compete in the BAL for the first time, including the first BAL teams from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda: Abidjan Basket Club (Côte d’Ivoire), Al Ahly (Egypt), City Oilers (Uganda), Kwara Falcons (Nigeria) and Stade Malien (Mali).

AS Douanes (Senegal) returns to the BAL after participating in the inaugural season in 2021.

The 12 teams will once again be divided into two conferences – the Sahara Conference and the Nile Conference. Each conference will play a 15-game group phase during which each team will face the other five teams in its conference once.

The Sahara Conference’s group phase will take place at the Dakar Arena from March 11-21, and the Nile Conference’s group phase will take place at Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo from April 26 – May 6.

The top four teams from each conference will qualify for the BAL Playoffs and Finals, which will feature a single-elimination tournament at BK Arena in Kigali from May 21-27.

BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall said: “There is incredible momentum leading up to the third BAL season, and each of the 12 teams have fought hard to earn their spot through intense competition.

“We are very excited to see the on-court action tip off next month in Dakar and look forward to delivering world-class basketball and entertainment to our passionate fans across Africa and around the world.”

“We are thrilled to rollout what promises to be another exceptional BAL season,” said FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave. “Judging from the quality of the teams that qualified through the Road to the BAL tournaments which ended in November last year, we are confident that fans and viewers will be treated to top-tier basketball that reflects the caliber of the talent we have on the continent.”

The season opener will feature AS Douanes taking on Abidjan Club on March 11 at 4:00 p.m. GMT. US Monastir will begin its title defense on Sunday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. GMT against Stade Malien.