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Amawheelaboys suffer opening defeat in Algeria

SA player Simanga Mbhele and Algeria player Nabil Guedoun during nternational Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Qualifiers in Algiers, Algeria from 31 October to 7 November, if they are to book a spot at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Photo by Abbey Sebetha / Bakonepix

The South African senior men’s wheelchair basketball team will rue a series of third and fourth quarter errors, as they went down 57-64 to hosts Algeria, in their opening fixture of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation’s African Qualifiers, played in Algiers, Algeria on Saturday.
Playing in front of a vociferous Algerian crowd at the Staoueli Basketball Stadium, the Sasol sponsored South Africans held a 15-11 lead after the first quarter and were 29-18 ahead at half-time.
However, by the end of the third quarter, the Sasol Amawheelaboys had their advantage cut to a slender four points, with the score at 47-43.
The Algerian game plan came to life after the half-time break, as they adopted a ‘two defender-on-one-attacker’ system to nullify Sasol Amawheelaboys ‘points machine’ Richard Nortje, and the mounting pressure saw the normally consistent Gift Mooketsi giving away some loose passes.
The South Africans will take on Libya on Sunday in their next fixture at the same venue.
‘When the Algerians lifted their game after the half-time break, the South African side seemed to lose some focus and confidence, which led to several points-scoring opportunities going a-begging and some passes going astray,’ said Sasol Amawheelaboys Head Coach Franck Belen.
‘There are no excuses from our side.  If you don’t put the ball in the hoop, you lose, and that is exactly what happened.
‘We will have a serious team talk and hope to get a win against Libya on Sunday.’


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