Ferroviario Da Beira

Kennedy feels at home in Beira and ready for Elite 16 challenge

JERMEL Kennedy wants a return to the Basketball Africa League (BAL). In his quest to achieve this desire, he has returned to Ferroviario da Beira. But before he can even dream of a second BAL appearance, Kennedy and Beira must navigate the Elite 16 Division East tipping-off in Johannesburg, South Africa (21 November – 26 November).

The veteran forward, who played for the Mozambican club in their BAL debut (2022), spent time overseas and in his home country, Canada. He spoke to the Big Tip Off about his return to Beira and the upcoming Elite 16. Kennedy also talked about his experience of the basketball scene in South Africa.

The 34-year-old’s decision to rejoin coach Luis Hernandez’s team results from a strong and positive relationship between the two. Despite having offers from elsewhere, the prospect of playing in the BAL swayed Kennedy’s decision.

The relationship between Kennedy and his Spanish coach begun a few years earlier. Although Kennedy couldn’t recall the exact year, he and Hernandez have stayed connected from around 2019. “We see basketball for the most part through the same lens, so we mesh well,” Kennedy recalled.

Jermel Kennedy in second picture
Jermel Kennedy says his bond with coach Luis Hernandez led him back to Beira. Pictures: The BTO

In their debut season, Beira failed to progress past the group stages, ending with a disappointing 1-4 record. Despite this, Kennedy viewed the experience as a valuable lesson. It taught him and the team the importance of making an impact within the short window that the BAL provides. He acknowledges that the team needs to improve rapidly to compete against other African clubs. Also, they cannot take their time for granted – whether on the court, watching film, or in the weight room. Unlike countries with longer leagues, they must progress quickly.

After that season, Kennedy had various options to consider, including playing in the United Kingdom’s British Basketball League (BBL). However, he ultimately decided to return to Canada to join The Saskatchewan Rattlers for his fourth season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).

Kennedy has previously played in the CEBL during the offseason to stay active and improve, and he felt that playing at home would be a bonus, allowing his family and friends to see him in action. As he explains, “Although I had the option to play in the BBL, which was appealing at the time, it’s always great to have the opportunity to play at home.”

In an impressive Elite 16 Road to BAL performance last year, Beira proved their mettle as a serious contender, finishing second only to the Cape Town Tigers last year. Emboldened by their success, Beira set out to conquer the BAL Season 3 with renewed vigour.

Despite a valiant effort that took them to the playoffs, Beira was unfortunately eliminated by Senegal’s AS Douanes in the quarter-finals. 


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Kennedy’s initial visit to Beira left a lasting impression on him. The strong bond he had developed with Coach Hernandez and his team members left a lasting impact. This connection made his decision to return to Southern Africa an easy one.

“The coach approached me about the prospect of coming back, and I knew that my good friend Will Perry was also planning to return. I’ve always enjoyed playing alongside him, and our shared history of winning only made the decision more obvious.”

Kennedy, it seems, has found it easy to settle in with the team. He feels like he has never left Beira.

“I have built strong relationships with all my teammates and it’s as if I’ve seamlessly picked up where I left off,” said Kennedy. “We have great camaraderie. There are a few changes to the team… But I’m excited to see the impact we can make this time around”

Kennedy shared his thoughts on the growth of basketball on the African continent. His views come in light of the expanded BAL Season 4, which will see South Africa host the new Kalahari Conference early next year. He contrasted this with the CEBL, which is also in its early stages of development.

“Despite operating on different continents, both the CEBL and BAL share similar frameworks that have led to solid growth. They offer opportunities to players worldwide, fostering diversity and talent exchange. Innovative marketing, fan engagement, and partnerships contribute to their success,” said Kennedy.

Jermel Kennedy playing in the 2021 Elite 16
Jermel Kennedy says Beira has to improve vastly if they qualify for the BAL.

Kennedy got a taste of the South African basketball culture when he participated in the 2022 Ashraf Lodewyk Memorial tournament alongside Beira teammate Will Perry. From that experience, Kennedy feels teams that will qualify for the Kalahari Conference are in for a treat.

“I think the energy and the passion of the fans in South Africa is underrated,” said the forward. “I think teams will be surprised by the number of fans that will be in attendance and their knowledge of basketball.”

With Kennedy’s versatility, a readiness to take on any role, and a winning mindset, he can make the team tick. The Canadian will be a key piece to Beira’s quest for a third BAL appearance.

* Beira are in Group B in the Elite 16 alongside COSPN (Madagascar) and City Oilers (Uganda), JBC (Zimbabwe). 

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Young’s career rejuvenated by Combine and Beira

Can Young and Locomotivas shock the world?

IN October last year, Ferroviario da Beira’s Najeal Young thought his playing days had ended due to not having any takers for his services for a while. But instead of wallowing in that prospect, he zoned in on more important things until a career lifeline arrived two months later.

Young, who had played professionally in Mongolia, Mexico and Australia before experiencing a career limbo, had his playing ambition reignited in December when he received an invitation to the Basketball Africa League (BAL) Combine in Paris, France.

During the Combine in mid-January, Young did enough to convince the Locomotivas Spanish coach Luis Hernandez to sign him for their successful BAL Nile Conference campaign. There the Mozambican club qualify for the playoffs starting in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday.

Najeal Young shares a moment with team captain Will Perry. Pictures: Getty Images

It was not the first time Young attempted to play in the BAL. In season two of the continental competition, he got in touch with teams to try and secure a contract.

“Last year January, I emailed every team that qualified for the BAL about a roster spot. There was interest from the Congolese team (Espoir Fukash), but nothing materialised,” said Milwaukee-born Young, who spoke to The Big Tip Off on Friday.

“I later tried my luck at a couple of Combines in the (NBA) G-League, but things did not pan out. Around October of that year, I realised it was not happening, and I focused more on taking care of my kids and being around family.

“Around Christmas, I got an invite to the BAL Combine. I got into basketball mode and worked myself into shape. In Paris, I would say I performed okay and eventually got some interest from coach Luis. We had a couple of conversations about coming to Beira, we reached an agreement, and now I am here.”

Young credits the BAL Combine for reviving his career: “It helped me get back into basketball and rejuvenated my career. Honestly, I did not know if I was going to continue playing. Things were pretty much in the air. So, I am thankful to coach Luis and the Combine for giving me the opportunity to do the thing that I love the most,” said Young, who started out as a gridiron player.

The 29-year-old small forward has also taken flight in the league courtesy of the second wind his career has had. In conference play, Young, a smooth finisher at the rim, has this season led the BAL in scoring (26.1 points per game) and played an integral part in Beira qualifying for the last eight.

“I feel good and have put a lot of work into my game. When you do that, it will show on the court. I am a player who wants to win games. It’s cool to score the most points, but if we don’t win games, then it’s not the same,” said the former Caballeros de Culiacan player.


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Beira finished the Nile Conference with a 2-3 record and in the third spot to book their ticket to Kigali. Young acknowledged that the Mozambican club were in a tough group, but he was proud of how his team performed.

Also, being in Egypt, he got to fulfil one of his lifelong dreams.

“This being a new group, I knew there would be some challenges in trying to win together and what our team could do to compete on this stage. Overall, I would give us an A-plus,” said Young. “To also be in Egypt, near the pyramids… I was actively in my dream. It has always been a dream of mine to come here and see the pyramids. So, I am grateful.

“Also, getting a chance to be on that floor and underneath those lights, having Amadou (Gallo Fall), D-Wade and the fans watching our games on the sidelines and stands is a dream come true in every facet.”

Young also had his son cheering him on in Cairo. He explained that having him at the arena was a great source of motivation. 

“This why we do what we do. We play this game for our families and it’s great to have their support. Having my son on the side lines and him cheering me on was a big energy boost for me. It matters a great deal to have had him there and it was extremely fun to see him rooting for me. I also do this for my family back home I know they were watching me on TV. So, it was a great experience,” said Young.

Najeal Young felt the love of his family on and off the court.

From the start of the Nile Conference, the veteran player always believed that his team would make it to the playoff rounds. Now he and his teammates look forward to Sunday’s battle against AS Douanes of Senegal. 

“I was confident. I also had expectations of our team making it to the playoffs. We were in a strong group, with Petro (de Luanda) and Al Ahly being the top teams. I think we could have done some things better to try and beat City Oilers, but we made it,” said Young.

“I am excited about our next challenge. We are playing AS Douanes. I have studied a tape on them. They are a vibrant group, active, and they compete hard. It’s going to be a fun game and match-up. 

Finally, Young believes Beira can make a deep run in the competition and that they can turn heads while doing it.

“I feel that a fire has lit up in us. There is a bit more attention to detail from players and the coach as well. We do not just want to be in Kigali. We want to win and shock the world,” concluded Young.

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Beira reminds Gueye of his humble beginnings

Defence will make the difference for Beira

WHEN Senegalese big man Makhtar Gueye committed himself to play for Mozambican club Ferroviario da Beira for this season’s Basketball Africa League (BAL), his arrival to the same named city, while humbling also caused a shock to his system.

Gueye, from Rufisque in Senegal, says that Beira, making their second appearance in the league, showed interest in him after displaying his prowess at the BAL Combine in Paris, France. Following the Combine, negotiations for Gueye’s services were done telephonically, and that was the smooth part of the process.

“The Combine was a great platform. It was good exposure for me. I had the opportunity to represent my country, my family and myself. It was a way of showcasing talent and to talk with team managers. I had a lot of offers, but I picked the best deal for me,” said the Senegalese international speaking to The Big Tip Off on Tuesday.

“I also considered my style of play, and I think Beira was the best fit for a player like myself. Also, one of my former coaches in Spain knew the Beira coach (Luis Hernandez). So he put us in touch, and I liked what Coach Hernandez had to say.”

Ferroviario da Beira’s Makhtar Gueye takes on Michael Gbinije of Cape Town Tigers. Pictures: Supplied

Upon arrival in Beira, Gueye, a second-year pro, was shocked by the destruction caused by a cyclone that ravaged the city in 2019.

While it was an eye opener, the former CB Menorca player took the state of affairs in Beira in his stride, as what he saw reminded him of his humble beginnings.

“It was crazy. It’s nothing near what I thought about Mozambique. Because all communication was through the phone, I thought everything was in Maputo. But I learnt I was going to Beira. They had the cyclone, which damaged the city and the gym, so things were different there,” said Gueye, who represented Senegal in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

“In such situations, you learn to have grace. As a kid in Senegal, I remember experiencing a similar situation and having to practice on a concrete court. So, I have an appreciation for the situation. The coach has also been good in managing the situation and helping us to get comfortable.”


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Another challenge Beira faced was the lack of preparation for their Nile Conference campaign. The inactivity of the Mozambican domestic league meant that the Southern African club could not get the necessary game time.

On top of their preparation woes, the Mozambican club started the competition with two tough games, against Al Ahly and Petro de Luanda, which they lost.

“It’s hard to prepare for a high-level competition like this and not get games before it starts. We knew it was going to be hard, especially starting against the two best teams in the conference,” said the Seed Academy Alumni. “We had to grind and stick to how we play, and it paid off in our third game.”

And pay off it did as the 6ft10 (2.08m) Gueye and his teammates managed to secure their first win (109-97) against Seydou Legacy Athletique Club (SLAC) on Sunday.

Gueye scored 15 points and eight rebounds against SLAC, while American combo-guard Najeal Young contributed 26 points, three assists and five rebounds, but the fourth-quarter exploits of team captain Will Perry won the game for Beira.

Perry made four threes in a 41-point performance, for Beira to reclaim a lead they had lost and gain a first victory.

Makhtar Gueye believes defence will be key to qualifying for Kigali. Picture: The BTO

Gueye says the battle against SLAC was one of the most challenging in his career.

“It’s one of the toughest games I have played since I started playing basketball. We had a good approach, and we were aggressive from the start. We had a good to close out the half, and we talked about them making their run,” said the University of Alabama player. “When they did make their run, other things happened as well. Najeal got injured, I got into foul trouble, and Bourouma (Sidibe) fouled out. So, Will had to carry the team.

“We were resilient. That is what gave us the game.”

Beira have also added the scalp of the Cape Town Tigers to have a 2-2 record. A victory over the winless City Oilers on Friday night will guarantee Beira’s progress to the playoffs in Kigali, Rwanda.

Ahead of their remaining games, Gueye said they have to lock in defensively to win and qualify for the playoffs.

“Defence! In these types of tournaments, defence wins you games. If we do not defend well, then we will lose. We can score 200 points, but we must play defence to stop our opponents from scoring the same amount. That will make the difference. Defence!” concluded Gueye.

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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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Lopez on a mission to put Beira structures back on track

FERROVIARIO da Beira and their Spanish coach Luis Lopez Hernandez have enjoyed a reunion that has brought about good tidings for the club located in central Mozambique.

While the 55-year-old Spaniard’s second coming to the Beira-based club had to do with matters related to the basketball court, there was also a more sentimental reason for Lopez’s decision to return to Mozambique.

“There were a couple of things. Firstly, my family. My wife was born in Mozambique. My daughter, who is almost four, was born in Spain, and she has never been to Mozambique. So, I wanted her to connect with her family there. This is an opportunity for my wife and daughter to experience the country,” said Lopez speaking from the Canary Islands via Zoom, last Wednesday. 

Second Picture
Luis Lopez Hernandez shouts instructions during the Elite 16 qualifiers. Pictures The BTO

The second reason for Lopez, who led the Locomotivas to two national championships in 2012 and 2014, was the opportunity to work again with the current club president Valdemar Oliviera.

For some time, Beira’s playing structures had gone off the rails. Oliviera, who returned to the club’s presidency via election was on a mission to put them back on track. Returning to a familiar leadership and the challenge of a renewal project was enough to entice Lopez to get on board.

“Boaventura (Mahave), the president in 2019, called me to come back but I was in two minds at the time. Then an election happened, which Valdemar won. That made my decision easy because I had worked with him before,” said Lopez. “So the first reason to return was for my family. The other was so I could work with Valdemar again. When I signed in 2020, it gave us the chance to resume our discussion about our project, involving the senior teams and the lower structures as well.”

Lopez added that before he left Ferroviario da Beira in 2015, they were teeming with players in the male and female teams. He now looks forward to being part of reviving the Beira player pipeline.

“We had 450 players in our club. From junior boys and girls, the cadets and mini-basket. We had many children playing basketball. When I left, somehow it got lost. So when the president came back to the club, I knew he wanted to revive the structures that were present six-seven years ago,” said Lopez, who has been coaching since the age of 18.

Lopez, who has worked with teams that have representation at all levels was also impressed that some players from the junior setup had made their way to the Beira senior squad.

“Basketball is my life. When I worked in Spain, I coached clubs that have all teams. I enjoy helping players develop,” said the experienced Lopez, who led Beira to another national title last year. “When I came back (to Beira), I recognised three players in the first team, who come through the ranks. They were around 12-years-old when I arrived in 2011. Now they are in their early twenties, and I am coaching them. That is something that makes me proud.”



While the long-term vision for Beira is still in its infancy, the Mozambican club’s senior men’s team have grown wings and qualified for the second edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Lopez oversaw Beira’s impressive qualifying run in the Zonal and Elite 16 Division East tournaments, held in South Africa between October and December. Their only blip was against Tigers in the Zonal qualifiers. Beira would avenge that defeat in the semi-final of the Elite 16 as the Mozambican club finished that leg unbeaten.

Speaking about the qualifying experience, Lopez says he had introduced some changes to how the team approached the game.

“I am happy with our team because we improved a lot. Our first official practice was in July. I could not join the team earlier because of the pandemic. So, I sent many exercise videos to prepare the team. I also received daily feedback from the assistant coaches,” said Lopez, who elaborated on the training program. “We started with a physical program in March last year. Then we moved to improve the players’ skillsets and shooting technique. When I arrived in July, we worked on our tactical approach.”

He added, “I was surprised because at how the team adapted to a new way of playing the game, especially when we started our journey in Mozambique. It’s not easy for players to change a philosophy or style that they have known all their life. In the end, we improved a lot, which we showed in Johannesburg by how we moved and shared the ball.”

Beira’s preparation for the BAL extravaganza started in earnest last week. Unfortunately, their practices have been without their coach Lopez and the team’s key import players in American point guard Will Perry and Canadian guard and forward Jermel Kennedy.

Third Picture
Ferroviario da Beira coach Luis Lopez Hernandez wants his team to give their best at the BAL

Lopez, who was still resolving his visa matters, expects Perry and Kennedy back for the national championships in February.

“The team started together last week, without myself and the two foreign players. We are getting ready for the national championships that start in February and finish in March. That will be our preparation (for the BAL). Hopefully Will and Jermel will be back for the nationals,” said Lopez, who expects to bolster the squad with two new players for the BAL tournament taking place in Dakar, Senegal (March 5-15), Cairo, Egypt (April 9-19) and Kigali, Rwanda (May 21-28).

“We want to sign two other players from the continent to complete our team for the BAL. One of them must be able to play at the five position. Also we need someone who can operate outside, a player for the three and four position,” said Lopez, who emphasised what his team required. “We need size. We are not a tall team. The two players we need to sign must be a five and the other a perimeter player, but tall. They must also be players that fit our style of play.”

On the expectations at the BAL tournament, Lopez approached the question with a touch of realism.

“Our goal or expectations are always the same. Every team wants to win, but there can only be one victor at the end. My only concern is that we do our best. That is our goal. We want to do our best every day and in every game,” concluded Lopez.

We have already gotten a glimpse of Beira at their best. It’s hard to find fault with their brand of basketball. With new additions to the team, they can only get better. They may not have the favourites tag, but given how Beira play, they can easily determine how far they go in the BAL tournament.

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Swiss army knife Kennedy, the sharp point of Beira offence

Beira learnt lessons from loss to Tigers

BASKETBALL runs deep in Jermel Kennedy’s family. The influence of his kin is one of  the main reasons he plays the game.

Community also played its part in providing the fertile ground for the Canada-born player to grow, spread his wings and further his ambition in the sport.

“Growing up, where I am from, basketball is popular. It’s something I enjoy doing. The city of Malton has a huge basketball culture. In a way it propelled me to achieve my dreams,” said Kennedy. “Also, basketball runs in the family. My mom played in high school and my older sister played as well. In fact, my older sister’s influence was what encouraged me to take on the sport. I used to watch her high school games. She was pretty good.”

Second Picture
Jermel Kennedy believes lessons have been learnt from the loss against Tigers Pictures: The Big Tip Off

The 32-year-old forward would go on to chart his own path as he learnt the ropes at Lincoln Alexander Secondary School and refined his game in the American college system. With  a clear foundation laid and a physical growth spurt, the signs were there that he had the potential to be a good player.

“In my second year of high school, I grew taller and realised there was an opportunity there. I was probably one of  the tallest players in my area or team and decently athletic. I was slowly developing, and people recognised that I had certain attributes that translated well,” said Kennedy, who had spells with two junior colleges in the United States before joining Division II college team, Lander Bearcats.

Kennedy says while he enjoyed his time at the South Carolina school, where he also graduated, he was far from the polished player that he is now.

“I liked what Lander offered me. It was perfect for me, a good fit. It was different. Although, in the beginning, I was more like a four or five and did not shoot very well. I was more like a get-out, run and dunk the ball kind of player, but I still had most of the tools I use now although I was more of an inside than outside player,” said Kennedy.

The road to the pro-ranks saw Kennedy return home to the Canadian National Basketball League (NBL). Although he was a high draft pick for the NBL, he did not see himself playing on home turf, as the league was relatively new and painted in a negative light by players who had participated in it.

“I took a year off and played in tournaments or basketball leagues. Anything basketball-related, I immersed myself into. I also wanted to be a part of the NBL draft (in 2013). So, to get there, I went to the combine,” said Kennedy, who landed at the Moncton Miracles. “I ended up getting drafted sixth, but I had no intention of playing in the NBL. Some friends and players did not have good experiences playing in it. The league was new at the time, so how they handled players was not professional. I used my high draft value as a way of marketing myself and leveraging a move overseas.”

In addition to realising his dream of playing abroad, Kennedy has also been a bit of a journeyman. Spain (CB Clavijo Logrono), Britain (Worcester Wolves), Portugal (ADO Basquetbol SAD Overanse), Canada (Guelph Nighthawks and Hamilton Honeybadgers), Argentina (Ferrocarril Oeste) and France (AS Kaysersberg, Besancon BCD and Toulouse Basket Club) have all been home to the Canadian player.



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Mozambican club Ferroviario Da Beira, is where he now earns his keep. The Beira-based club is on a mission to qualify for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) and was in South Africa three weeks ago, where they successfully progressed to the Elite 16.

Beira won their first two games against Matero Magic of Zambia (81-51) and Roche-Bois Warriors of Mauritius (132-36) and crumbled in the final minutes against hosts, Cape Town Tigers (86-85) in a game the Mozambican’s dominated.

Reflecting on the qualifiers, especially in the final game, Kennedy says it was a good thing that they lost the game against the Tigers. In his opinion, it provided Beira with some teachable moments that will come in handy at the Elite 16 in December.

“I would say our biggest plus in that tournament was losing that game. It made us aware of certain things we had not noticed. We are not going to waltz into games and expect to win,” said Kennedy. “We were leading that game, and we were dominating. There were little things that we slept on. Little things like turnovers, not finishing easy plays, getting back on defence and rebounding. There are so many takeaways. It sucks when you have to understand that lesson through a loss. So, the loss provided those lessons.”

Despite the loss, Kennedy’s scoring feats for Beira was the highlight on the court during the regional qualifiers held at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus. In the opener against Matero, he dropped 16 points and in the second game against Warriors he again scored 16 points. In the loss to the Tigers, Kennedy did not disappoint as he notched double figures scoring 22 points. The Canadian has so far shown that he has a high basketball IQ in terms of scoring. His stats in the game against Tigers speak to this fact. He was 9/12 in field goals and was 4/5 from behind the arc.

Third Pic
Jermel Kennedy used his high NBL draft to leverage a move overseas.

Kennedy has shown that he is a proven scorer for Beira. He also sees himself as an all-around player and does what the team requires of him.

I am like a Swiss army knife. There are a lot of things I do on the court. I don’t do everything super amazing, but I do everything good. I am like the glue guy, but my role in this team is different. The coach expects me to be more aggressive, rebound, drive in, kick out and create for the team. I try to do that at a high level as much as possible,” concluded Kennedy.

On his experience with his new teammates, Kennedy says the process has been seamless as he has joined a good team with quality players that understand basketball. He feels this group of players will turn it up a level for the club when the Elite 16 tournament begins.

“It’s way easier than people make it out to be. These guys are smart players and easy to play with. Our system is not that difficult, it’s actually quite easy.” said the new Beira recruit. “We are definitely going to turn the intensity up this month as the Elite 16 approaches. Hopefully we are able to resolve the issues we have identified.” 

The Elite 16 will require a different attitude from Beira and Kennedy. There has been introspection, and moving forward, the Mozambican team will have to dot their i’s and cross their t’s, as the road to the BAL tournament will not get any easier. Beira will need Kennedy and his teammates to step up and play consistently at an elite level.

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Beira and Perry are a good fit for BAL quest

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). After 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 BTO

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 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 was 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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Perry did have 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. 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. 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.”

Beira and Perry are a good fit for BAL quest Read More »

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