Cecil Dumond’s Sasol national senior wheelchair basketball team saw their hopes of a place at the 2016 Rio Paralympics dashed, as they went down 74-58 to Morocco in a semi-final fixture at the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Qualifiers in Algiers, Algeria on Friday.
While the Sasol Amawheelaboys will play off for bronze (third/fourth place) on Saturday against the loser of the second semi-final between hosts Algeria and Eqypt, the winner of the second semi-final will face Morocco in a quest to see which nation will represent Africa at next year’s Paralympic showpiece.
A first quarter points blitz by the Moroccans saw the Amawheelaboys down by 14 points, which turned out to be a deficit that they would struggle to recover from.
The Amawheelaboys, who beat Morocco in a round robin fixture earlier in the week, were not allowed to settle early on with star points scorer Richard Nortje well blocked. The Moroccan defensive pattern was simply too good on the day and when the South Africans did manage to find a way through in creating a realistic chance of victory at 58-41 down at the three-quarter mark, the task was always going to be tough.
‘I put the defeat down to a shortage of enough international matches going into the tournament,’ said Amawheelaboys head coach Franck Belen afterwards.
‘Some of our players did really well during the week, but struggled in a high pressure game here today. If we had one or two more players with a host of international caps, it could have been different.’
Picture of SA player Cecil Dumond and Maraocco player Challat Zouhir courtesy of Abbey Sebetha/Bakonepix