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.


Perry hungry for redemption in BAL Season 3 Read More »

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.”

Second Picture
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.

Third Pic
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.”

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