The Catalan coach Agustí Julbe highlighted this Sunday the “great potential” that basketball possesses “throughout Africa“on the eve of his debut this Monday at the helm of the Zamalek Egyptian in the first edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) that is disputed in Kigali (Rwanda).
The tournament organized under the tutelage of the NBA and the FIBA brings together twelve African clubs until May 30 in a competition format that includes a first phase with three groups of four teams and subsequent qualifying rounds until reaching the final.
Julbe recognized Efe by videoconference from Kigali that faces this “attractive” continental competition with a “total illusion” and “ambition to try to win it”. In the first phase you will face the Maputo Railroad (Mozambique), to GS Petroliers (Algeria) and to AS Douanes (Senegal).
Although the players and teams participating in the tournament are unknown to the general public, Julbe commented that there will be teams of a “powerful” level, of which the Luanda oil tankers (Angola) or AS Monestir (Tunisia) that have a few players from the respective national teams in their ranks.
The tournament is played under the bubble format with “severe” sanitary conditions, with the teams concentrated in the “high-level” facilities of the Kigali Convention Center with hotels and training camps and the Kigali
Sand as the scene of the matches “a quarter of an hour by car.”
In this context, everything has its small complication, such as the preparation of the matches, which varies “completely” from what is usual, he explains. Julbe, with a ‘scouting’ (follow-up) more focused “on the individualities than on the collective” of the rival at least in the first games in a basketball “more athletic and dynamic” than is seen in Europe.
Agustí Julbe started his adventure in Egypt last November with the BAL as one of the “incentives” to sign for him Zamalek, one of the two great clubs in the African country, which has led to the semi-finals of the Egyptian league that will be played once the competition ends in Rwanda.
“The experience has been very good in terms of work on the track and we have managed to have a good performance and a solid way of working that has led us to achieve results. I am comfortable at the club and in the city,” says the coach.
As was predictable for him, Julbe has experienced a “shock” both culturally and sportingly in a country that considers it has “economic potential and important clubs in terms of player training” and lacks “a unified line of work to improve its league professional”.
The technician of Badalona recognizes that Egyptian basketball reminds him of the one in Spain “three or four decades ago” before the boom which made it the second sport in the country behind soccer.
Julbe considers that foreign coaches can “help” the development of Egyptian basketball, although he considers that the improvement of the players “depends on the local coaches, the creation of a coaches association and that they see high-level training.”
Other factors to take into account, depending on JulbeFor a “great short-term improvement” it would be “the increase in foreign players” since now there is only one per team, as well as “improving the structure of operation and growth during the training stages”.