Will Perry

Perry hungry for redemption in BAL Season 3

Beira will lean on past experience

AFTER a disappointing first appearance at the Basketball Africa League (BAL) last year, Ferroviario da Beira’s Will Perry feels he and his teammates need to make amends in season three, which is in progress.

Beira, the four time champions of the Mozambique domestic league, were not expected to be among the contenders for the BAL title but fell short of the expectation that they could give a strong showing. 

Also, given how Beira powered through the Road To BAL Elite 16 Division East qualifiers in 2021, the neutrals who thought the Mozambicans would turn heads could not have been wrong in having high expectations.

Will Perry
Will Perry feels Beira are a better team this year. Pictures: The BTO

But after finishing with a 1-4 record in the Sahara Conference, the Locomotivas found themselves on an early flight back home.

The American point guard Perry, who was one Beira’s shining lights in their disappointing BAL campaign, spoke with a sense of realism about the preparation required for this type of league.

“Uhm, Man… It’s a tough competition, but that was not surprising. I knew we were going to face difficult teams. Until you are on the court, that’s when you learn how good or strong the team has to be to move forward in the league,” said Perry, who spoke to The Big Tip Off last Thursday. 

“These are the best twelve teams in Africa, so there is no doubt about the degree of difficulty. I want to play better individually and help lead the team to the final eight (this year) or maybe even further.

“As a point guard, I learnt I have to play well in every game. I can’t have one bad day or two of them because we will not make it. There are just not that many games.”

At an individual level, the 29-year-old Perry posted some impressive statistics for Beira in their maiden BAL season. The skillful point guard put up 14 points, four rebounds and five assists in season two of the BAL. 

Despite his good numbers Perry, who is in his second season with Beira, says he would have preferred more wins. He also demands more from himself this season.

“If you asked me to trade my stats to win three games, I would do it. I would rather win games than have good stats. Last year I played well, but this year I want to play even better,” said the well-travelled Perry.

“I feel more ready this season. My aim is to reduce the number of turnovers per game. I shot a high percentage last year, but I think I can shoot even better. Overall, I was pleased with myself in last year’s BAL, but I think I can play better. That is my plan.”

Will Perry
Will Perry believes Beira are in a tough Nile Conference.

The 1.83m (6ft0) guard says the lessons Beira picked up from last year’s BAL have prepared them for this season.

“I think we are slightly better this year and more experienced. The coach, my teammates and I have experience. Also, the new players (Makhtar Gueye, Najeal Young, Borama Sidibe and Yuran Biosse) will help the team. I think we are slightly better, we plan on making the final eight, but we are in a tough group,” said the former Lenoir-Rhyne Bears player.

Perry’s assertion that Beira, who are in the Nile Conference, “are in a tough group” is not off the mark. The Mozambicans begin their campaign in Cairo, Egypt (26 April – 6 May) and will play in the opening game of the Nile Conference against hosts Al Ahly, who are making a first appearance at the BAL. 


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Along with the Egyptian giants, Beira’s group also includes Petro de Luanda (Angola), Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), City Oilers (Uganda) and Seydou Legacy Athletique Club (Guinea), also known as SLAC.

“Al Ahly and Petro are perennial powerhouses in African basketball. We know Cape Town and have played against them a couple of times. They are a team with good talent. City Oilers are a tough side, and SLAC beat us last year in the group stages,” said Perry, who has also played for Tigers BBC in Rwanda. 

“All the teams are going to be tough. The team we know the most is Cape Town. We have also scouted Al Ahly and watched some of their players. They have a good domestic league in Egypt, and they are playing games right now. It is easy to keep up with what they are doing. So yeah, that’s what we know about the teams in our group.”

After being served with a reality check last year, Perry and Beira must prove that they can turn the corner, and while it will not be easy to navigate their group, they can rely on their experience to chart a new path for themselves.


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