Algerian champions GS Petroliers are looking to change the course of history at FIBA Africa Champions Cup (ACC).
First, they will need to finish among the top-two teams in the six-team ACC Zone 1 Qualifier in Monastir (which runs from 1 to 7 December) to secure a place in the 12-team final phase in Rades, Tunisia.
“Our main goal,” GS Petroliers guard Mounir Benzegala, told FIBA.basketball is “to make sure we qualify for the final phase.”
In Saturday’s ACC Zone 1 Qualifier opener, the Algerians will go up against Libyan side Al Ittihad.
Historically, no Algerian club have ever reached the last four of the annually ACC, and after falling in the quarter-finals a year ago against Nigeria’s Kano Pillars, Benzegala insists, it is about time for a change.
“[We are] looking to advance to the semi-finals after last year’s quarter-final loss. [Our goal] is to improve upon last year,” the 30-year-old Algerian international added.
A year ago, GS Petroliers finished in sixth place of the ACC held in Cairo, Egypt.
The schedule of Day 1 of the regional qualifier will see hosts Union Sportive Monastir (Tunisia) face Al Nasr (Libya) while Moroccan sides AS Sale and MAS will face each in Saturday’s last action.
This year’s ACC will be hosted by Tunisian champions Etoile Sportive de Rades from 11 to 20 December.
So far, teams qualified include hosts ES Rades, Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls (both from Nigeria), AS Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malabo Kings (TBC) of Equatorial Guinea, City Oilers (Uganda), Interclube de Luanda and Sport Libolo e Benfica (Angola).
Mozambique champions Ferroviario da Beira have been awarded one of two wild cards.