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Beira and Perry are a good fit for BAL quest

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Beira’s ambition intrigued Perry For most basketball players who ply their trade in overseas leagues, signing long-term contracts is a rarity. In most cases bouncing from one country to another is the norm for most ballers. While the scenario could be unsettling for some players, others choose to embrace the challenge. The latter applies to […].

Beira’s ambition intrigued Perry

For most basketball players who ply their trade in overseas leagues, signing long-term contracts is a rarity. In most cases bouncing from one country to another is the norm for most ballers. While the scenario could be unsettling for some players, others choose to embrace the challenge.

The latter applies to American-born point guard William Perry, who now calls Mozambique where he plays for one of the Southern African country’s most famous club, Ferroviario Da Beira, home.

Before wearing the white and green striped vest of Ferroviario, Perry played for CB Zamora (Spain), ADO Basquetbal SAD Ovarense (Portugal) and Akademiks Bulteks 99 Plovdiv (Bulgaria). Following another stint in Spain playing for CD Estela Cantabria, the African continent came calling.

Perry, who hails from North Carolina says he has enjoyed traversing Europe, as it has allowed him to experience different cultures.

“I enjoyed it. I like travelling, meeting new people and doing what is best for my career. If it means I experience a little anxiety in the summertime about my next move, it’s okay. I can deal with it,” said the 28-year-old, who goes by the shortened version of his name, Will. “I would say I enjoy that aspect of living out of a suitcase. Of course it’s not as comfortable as playing for a team for five years, but I would not have it any other way.”

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Will Perry of Ferroviario Da Beira in action during the BAL Zonal qualifiers. Pictures: The Big Tip Off

The former Lenoir-Rhyne University player says having the chance to be away from home to pursue his basketball dreams helped him mature as a person.

“I have learnt a lot about myself as a person. I found myself and became a man, an adult, since playing overseas. To live on my own, travelling, making my own decisions and all that stuff. There are some things I had already been doing during my college days, like living by myself,” said Perry. “It’s a little uncomfortable when you come to a new place on your own. I learnt who I am as a man, what I like to do and don’t like and how to work with others.”

In terms of achievement, Perry says that playing in Portugal and helping Ferroviario in their mission qualify for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) are some career highlights.

“I really joined my time in Portugal. In my second year over there, we made the final four. It was an amazing experience. I had a good season. That propelled my career,” said Perry. “It’s hard to only pick one highlight. I would say what I am doing now, trying to qualify for the BAL, to play in the Basketball Africa League would be the biggest highlight of my career.”

 

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The well-travelled Perry had some questions before nailing his colours to the Beira mast. Is the club ambitious, and do they have the right pieces to make it to the BAL?

My first thought was, do we have a chance to make it to the BAL? Is the club serious? Coming to Africa, you want the opportunity to play at the BAL. The moment I learnt the club was serious, I was on board,” said Perry.

Ferroviario made it to the Elite 16 of the BAL qualifiers after finishing second in the regional stages held at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus, two weeks ago. Led by the playmaking of Perry, the Mozambican’s, finished with a 2-1 record, beating Matero Magic (Zambia) and Roche-Bois Warriors (Mauritius). They would lose a nail-biter against the Cape Town Tigers.

Perry was instrumental for Ferroviario in the opening game against Matero, scoring 12 points and making 10 assists as the Mozambican club strolled to an 81-51 victory. He was impactful in the final game against the Tigers scoring 18 points in Ferroviario’s 86-85 loss.

The experience of playing in the qualifiers was an enjoyable one for Perry, as he felt he fit in well with the Beira club’s setup.

“It was a great experience, I love my team, and I like my coach. In the qualifiers, we lost one game at the end, which was disappointing because I feel we should have won,” said Perry. “We qualified, which was our goal, and we have moved forward.”

Perry picked up some lessons from the qualifiers in Johannesburg and recognised that there were points in the final game where he could have done better. With the Elite 16 looming in December, it gives Perry ample time to rectify the issues he has identified.

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Will Perry is working on his game ahead of the Elite 16.

“I think I need to do better with the clock management. Closer to the end of the game (against Tigers), I could have done better. I made some silly mistakes, took a bad shot or two. So, those are the things I need to work on to get better,” said Perry. “As a team, I think we need to lock in at the end a little more. Do the little things better for us to win. I am confident in this team. We are good and we work well together.”

Perry believes he chose the best city and team to play his basketball on the continent. The floor general says he has already warmed up to the city and can feel a togetherness. He opined that the people of Beira are behind the club and its quest to clinch a spot in the BAL tournament. 

“If you ever go to Beira, you’ll see they are really supportive of the club. They are in a great city. The people love the club. They know basketball and love it. They are passionate and want to win,” said Perry. “Estamos Juntos is a great phrase to use. Hopefully, it catches on. It means we are together. Everyone, from players, coaches and fans. We are together.”

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