The national men’s wheelchair basketball team will face Morocco in semi-final action at the international Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Qualifiers, after recording a 67-39 win over Nigeria in Algeria on Wednesday.
Sasol Amawheelaboys head coach Franck Belen did not mince his words with his players at the end of the first quarter with the South Africans 10-8 behind, and a spirited second quarter display, saw SA bounce back into a 33-20 lead.
By the three-quarter mark, the South Africans had extended their advantage to 51-29.
Team captain Cecil Dumond said after the match: ‘Our defensive game is quite strong but we need to bring the attacking game to the party at the same time. We certainly weren’t at our best against Nigeria, and will need to up our game when we play in the semi-finals.’
For the South Africans, Luvuyo Mbande was a tower of strength of defence, taking possession from the Nigerians on several occasions, while Gift Mooketsi and Richard Nortje, ensured attacking moves and points for the Sasol Amawheelaboys.
Nortje finished the match with a total of 26 points.
The South Africans will now practice on Thursday morning, ahead of Friday’s semi-final match.
At the same tournament, the national women’s side found winning form as they crushed Morocco 48-6.
The Sasol Amawheelagirls were simply too speedy and strong for the Moroccan team, and held comprehensive advantages of 14-0 (first quarter), 29-0 (halftime) and 39-5 (three quarter time).
Misqah Kamaldien and team captain Nonsindiso Zungu shone on attack for the South Africans.
Head coach Franck Belen, who has been assisting the national senior women’s team on the coaching front said afterwards: ‘The game is all about confidence and the Amawheelagirls were a much more settled team than in their opening game which they lost to Algeria on Tuesday.’
The coach admitted that there was a lot of homework to be done before the Amawheelagirls take to the court for their final round robin match against Nigeria on Thursday at 3.30pm SA time.
‘It’s the first time that the Sasol Amawheelagirls are playing at an African Qualifying event, so it’s a good experience for them,’ said Belen.
Picture of SA’s Richard Nortje and Nigeria player Olayesoye Oyelami in action courtesy of Abbey Sebetha/Bakonepix