Over the course of the last two weeks, Zamalek and US Monastir set themselves apart by beating every single Basketball Africa League (BAL) team that they faced.
Zamalek and US Monastir reached the Championship Game undefeated by way of a 5-0 mark each.
On Sunday, May 30, the two African giants will face off for the first-ever BAL trophy at Kigali Arena.
So, who will win the first-ever BAL title?
Zamalek and US Monastir have never hidden their intentions of winning this year’s BAL title.
The two teams did the homework by building competitive and talented rosters, and after 24 games of intention competition, it’s safe to say that the two best teams deservedly reached their most important game of the season.
But, only one team will take home the much sought-after trophy.
To reach the big finale, Zamalek outclassed two-time African champions Petro de Luanda 89-71 in Saturday’s first semi-final. Afterwards, US Monastir dismantled Rwandan champions Patriots BBC 87-46.
ZAMALEK v US MONASTIR
This is the first time that the winners of the 1992 FIBA Africa Champions Cup reach the final of a continental competition since they finished runner-up in 1998.
US Monastir last reached the podium of a continental competition when it finished third in the 2017 FIBA Africa Champions Cup.
BIGGEST CONCERN AHEAD OF THE FINAL:
This is likely to be a tight contest that could be decided in small details, and Zamalek’s 55.5 free-throw percentage could be an issue for the Egyptian outfit.
US Monastir captain Makram Ben Romdhane has warned that they need to play focused for 40 minutes and never allow opponents to grow in confidence.
WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT ZAMALEK and US MONASTIR:
The two teams have productive benches that can impact the game at any given moment.
They did time and time again throughout the tournament, and, on Saturday reserves Chinemelu Elonu, Souleyman Diabate and Michael Fakuade proved vital for Zamalek, combining for 38 points off the bench.
US Monastir sixth-man Wael Arakji averages a team-high 15 points per game.
STATS TO WATCH:
Zamalek has limited its five opponents to 61 points per game while US Monastir hasn’t allowed their opponents more than 63.8 points per game.
US Monastir averages the tournament-high 95.2 points per game.
The Tunisian champions average 10 three-points made per game against Zamalek’s 8.
WHAT’S SO UNIQUE ABOUT THE 2021 BAL FINAL
Sunday’s contest between Zamalek and US Monastir not only will crown the first-ever BAL champion, but it will also mark a new chapter in the history of African basketball.
Professional basketball across Africa is one of the main goals of the Basketball Africa League, and Kigali was the starting point.
BWB ALUMNI IN THE BAL FINAL
The Basketball Without Borders Africa (BWB) has been one of the most successful basketball programs on the continent, and nine of its former campers will feature in the BAL final, including Zamalek’s trio of Haitham Saharty (2003), Moustafa El Mekawi (2012), and NBA Africa Academy’s Mohab Yasser Abdallatif (2019). US Monastir counts on with six former BWB campers including: Makram Ben Romdhane (2008), Firas Lihyani (2009), Omar Abada (2011), Skandar Bhouri (2014), Wassef Methani (2015) and Oussama Marnaouni (2016).