The national women’s wheelchair basketball team wrote their names into sports history as they beat Nigeria 38-25 in Algiers, Algeria on Friday to qualify for the final of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Qualifiers.
The Sasol Amawheelagirls will take on the winner of Algeria and Morocco in Saturday’s final (3.30pm SA time) with qualification for the 2016 Rio Paralympics on the line.
The South Africans, who went down to Nigeria in round robin action earlier in the tournament, dominated all phases of play, and after the scores were level at 4-4 at the end of the first quarter, went on to lead 19-15 at halftime and 26-19 at the three-quarter mark.
The influence of Sasol Amawheelaboys coach Franck Belen on the bench of the Amawheelagirls, had a huge influence on the tactical planning of the game, and Masego Mokhine needs to be credited with another super performance on defence and attack.
She contributed a total of eight points, while team-mate Kelebogile Moeng finished with 13 points and impressed in getting the Sasol Amawheelagirls to move forward.
‘I said from the start that this is a confidence game, but the basics are key,’ said coach Belen afterwards. ‘If our girls shot hoops yesterday against Nigeria yesterday as well as they did today, we would have won by 10 or 15 there too.’
Looking towards facing Algeria or Morocco in the final, Belen added: ‘Look, beating Algeria in front of their home fans in a packed Nadi Basketball Arena is a different task, If we had a choice, of course Morocco would be a bit easier for us, but its all on the day.
‘If Morocco launch a full onslaught on us, it’s just as tough out there as facing Algeria. Let’s see what happens.’
Picture of Kelebogile Moeng courtesy of Abbey Sebetha/Bakonepix