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Smit’s big boost

Team South Africa received a welcome boost ahead of their wheelchair basketball qualifying final against hosts Morocco on Thursday night when Springbok rugby captain John Smit sent them a special message.

The team qualified for tonight’s final with wins over Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria and will now face the hosts in a winner-takes-all final to claim the only African qualifying spot for London 2012.

After several months of hard work, determination and character, Team South Africa have excelled in hostile circumstances, and will face another big game as Morocco ousted Egypt 69-65 to qualify for the final in front of a fiercely partisan crowd.

Smit recorded the message in New Zealand and sent it to the team, who will view it just before taking to the court for the final.

While the Springboks may have had some rough luck in their quest to retain the Rugby World Cup, Smit gave an inspiring message to the team, reminding them of their duty as representatives of South Africa.
ÔÇ£I know this is an important tournament and you have some tough opposition in Morocco,ÔÇØ Smit told the team, ÔÇ£We don’t really understand what it is like to travel to a hostile environment like that, sitting in a hotel in New Zealand.

ÔÇ£But we can say one thing; we wish you all the best. We still talk about the experience we had making that advert in Pretoria. We feel as if we are part of your team and you are part of ours. From our side we wish you the very best. Take all the toughness about where you are and put it aside, and concentrate on using your talent to pull you through. ÔÇ£

Team South Africa captain Marcus Retief said the message was the perfect boost for the team before the final.

ÔÇ£To have someone like John take the time out to send us such an inspiring message does a lot for the guys. It shows just how united as sportsmen South Africans are. The guys are going to love this and hopefully it will be a boost to our focus in getting the job done against Morocco,ÔÇØ Retief said.

The final will take place Wednesday evening (7pm SA time).


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