Zamalek must find their feet, and fast, to beat Monastir in BAL semis

Basketball Africa League defending champions Zalamek were undercooked in their low-scoring win against SLAC on Sunday, and will need to find the net significantly better against US Monastir in the semifinals.

Zamalek beat Guinea's SLAC 66-49 in the quarterfinal in Kigali, with the top scorer, Moustafa Kejo, racking up a mere 14 points. By sharp contrast, Tunisia's Monastir destroyed Cape Town Tigers 106-67 earlier in the day.

The north African giants will meet on Wednesday in the semis, and Zamalek's American coach Will Voigt was well aware of his side's shortcomings after the game. He did, however, point out that they had not played a game since the Nile Conference in Cairo in early April.

Voigt told the media: "We haven't played a game with this group since Cairo. That has made it hard. Obviously, as a coach, I wish we had better preparation -- I wish we had test matches before we came here.

"We weren't anywhere close to the same level we were in Cairo and we understand that we better get there quickly or Monastir is going to destroy us."

Voigt confirmed the Zamalek's Nigerian star, Ike Diogu, had missed out through injury, and would not return for the tournament. He did not expand upon the nature of Diogu's ailment when pressed.

He said: "Ike Diogu, who is a pretty important player for us, is out. Ike is out with an injury. That's about as far as I'll go with that."

Meanwhile, Monastir will be very confident going into the final four after an absolute demolition of Cape Town Tigers, who were never realistically expected to win, even with former NBA players Cleanthony Early and Billy Preston on the roster.

The Tigers were abysmal when it came to shooting, with none of their field goal, 2-point, or 3-point stats going above 36 percent. By contrast, Monastir sank over 70 percent of their attempted shots.

Michael Dixon was the stand-out for Monastir, hitting four three-pointers and recording a game-high 23 points.

READ: Everything you need to know about the BAL

Given Monastir had not played in the BAL since March, when they finished second in the Sahara Conference, they certainly looked well-oiled. Dixon put that down to the team staying together, and training multiple times a week.

"We have been preparing for the [BAL] playoffs since Senegal," said Dixon.

"We played every two days since we left there. We have a goal. Everybody contributed, and keep pushing for our goal, which go for the championship."

The semifinals will see Petro de Luanda take on FAP at 6pm on Wednesday, while Monastir and Zamalek will play the late game that night.

The BAL airs on ESPN in Africa and on ESPN+ and ESPNNews in the US.