Bangui's poor preparation comes back to bite them, Khaman Maluach's City Oilers also suffer defeat

Solo Diabate celebrates Ahly Benghazi's win over Bangui SC in the Basketball Africa League's Nile Conference. Julien Bacot/NBAE via Getty Images

Egypt's Al Ahly and Libya's Al Ahly Benghazi were the winners of the first day of the Basketball Africa League's Nile Conference in Cairo, beating Uganda's City Oilers and the Central African Republic's Bangui SC respectively.

Bangui's preparation was marred by off-field payment issues, but their homegrown hero, Thierry Darlan, helped them get on the front foot in the first few minutes of the early tip-off against Ahly Benghazi.

Rolly Fula Nganga then picked up the baton later in the first quarter and early in the second as Bangui continued to hold their lead. At the end of the first quarter, they were 29-23 to the good.

However, as the second quarter progressed, Ahly Benghazi took the upper hand and went into half-time with a 54-42 advantage. Kevin Murphy's 17 first half points and Pierre Jackson's 14 had the team from Libya firmly in the driving seat.

The third quarter did little to affect the flow of the game, with Ahly Benghazi taking a 72-58 lead into the break. They came out strongest at the start of the fourth quarter, putting the game all but beyond reach. Solo Diabaté's bucket stretched the lead beyond 20 points within the first two minutes of the quarter.

To the delight of a small contingent of supporters that showed up to support them, Ahly Benghazi saw out a 93-71 win.

Murphy was the top scorer with 21 points altogether, while Jackson and Majok Deng each finished with 20. Solo Diabaté was the other big scorer from Ahly Benghazi with 17.

Fula scored 19 points for Bangui and Billy Kamayengue 12, but it was ultimately a disappointing night for many of their established players, with Darlan among them as he only scored 7, failing to capitalise on his early promise.

The difference between the teams ultimately came down to preparation, as Ahly Benghazi were rewarded for their efforts in their pre-season camp in Serbia.

"We were in Serbia. We had seven games - we won six, we lost one. That was a good camp and for the chemistry of the team, being together for 10 days was really good. We [got] to know each other, so everything was fine," Diabaté told ESPN.

Meanwhile, Bangui's pre-tournament camp in Kigali was marred by payment issues and constant changes to the roster, including the dismissal of former head coach Justin Serresse after he clashed with club president Cyrille Damango.

In the second game, City Oilers kept pace with the Egyptian champions early on as the stands slowly began to fill out. The atmosphere never quite reached the levels seen in Pretoria at the Kalahari Conference.

Eventually, Ahly pulled clear into a 28-16 first quarter lead, which they stretched to 53-35 by half-time. Duke commit Khaman Maluach had all eyes on him after returning from Nike Hoop Summit, but struggled to grow into the game.

However, in the third quarter, Maluach found his groove, with some key buckets and a solid defensive contribution to go with it. However, the hosts had the depth to roll with the punches and took a 79-56 lead.

Ahly had the better of the fourth quarter too, seeing out a 99-76 win despite Maluach's total 16 points on the night and a solid effort from the Oilers. The message from Agustí Julbe's side was clear: if anyone intends to challenge their supremacy in Africa, they had best step up their game.