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Fick’s men win again
- Updated: October 12, 2011
Our wheelchair basketballers are edging closer to qualification for next year’s Paralympics in London.
The team made it two wins from two with a strong and convincing 68-56 win over hosts Morocco in the African Paralympic qualifiers in Rabat, Morocco on Tuesday evening.
The victory means that Team South Africa are virtually assured of a spot in Thursday’s final, having beaten their two main rivals in consecutive days.
Considering the strong hometown support that the Moroccans had, and the intimidating atmosphere, the victory was even more special and will go down as one of the most remembered days in the team’s time together.
South Africa made a solid start, leading 26-15 after the first quarter, and kept the lead throughout the game. At half time they held sway with a 38-26 scoreline but a strong third quarter from the Moroccans saw them claw back some space to 50-44.
The South Africans pulled away in the final quarter, capping a sensational display with a 68-56 final scoreline. On Monday they had to endure some tense moments before beating Egypt 63-62.
Coach Patrick Fick was simply glowing after the result, which puts them a step closer to qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympics. ÔÇ£This was great, it was wonderful. It is really nice to beat them convincingly,ÔÇØ Fick said after South Africa’s top-class display.
ÔÇ£Things are coming together slowly as the guys believe more in each other. We share the ball effectively as a team and it is so satisfying to see this team play as a team, especially after those defeats we had in Europe. The guys believe in themselves and you can see it in their play.ÔÇØ
Team South Africa will now face their final round robin game against Nigeria on Wednesday, but as the Nigerians have lost both their games against Morocco and Egypt, a good result is expected. ÔÇ£Nigeria shouldn’t be a problem, but it is now all about the final,ÔÇØ Fick said.
Despite this, Fick said he wasn’t going to change combinations just because of the opposition, but would rather give his strongest team another chance on the court. ÔÇ£We won’t be going away much from what we have been doing, the key is to stick with what works for us, and to try and build up a good lead and gain some more momentum out of the game.
ÔÇ£But tonight I’m really proud of the boys. They were alive on defence and played extremely well.ÔÇØ
The all-important Paralympic qualifying final is on Thursday night, with the winner taking the sole qualifying spot for London 2012.
The Paralympic Team are proudly partnered by Mercedes Benz, Nedbank, National Lottery, Pick n Pay, Sasol, Sun International, Telkom, the Department of Sport and Recreation and Vodacom.