Sasol AmaWheelie Girls are off to IWBF U25 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championship in 2023

Sasol U25 AmaWheelie Girls with their IWBF U25 Women's Wheelchair Basketball World Championships qualifiers trophy

The IWBF U25 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championship qualifiers came to an end at the Mandeville Sports Club in Johannesburg on Thursday, 08 December, where the Sasol U25 AmaWheelie Girls national team won the tournament without a single loss. The IWBF U25 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball World Championship will take place next year – the date and the host country will be announced in the new year.

The Sasol U25 AmaWheelie Girls had an amazing tournament under the leadership of Coach Trooper Johnson, a former coach of the United States women’s national wheelchair basketball team and also a former wheelchair basketball player.

The South African national team hosted the Congolese, in the final match of the tournament. The Congolese team had beaten the Ethiopian team earlier in the day, which placed them in the 3rd position. In battling it out for the top honours, the AmaWheelie Girls dominated the Congolese in the first quarter of the game leading 8-0, however the Congolese managed to close the margin. The visitors changed their game plan in the second quarter which put the AmaWheelie Girls under pressure, missing ample opportunities of netting the ball in the basket and trailing behind by 10-9. Coach Johnson called a time-out for his team and the SA players came back into the game and lived up to the Sasol mantra of living the impossible. The SA team were able to get their mojo back, leading by 27-16 in the second quarter.

The AmaWheelie Girls came into the third quarter of the game fired up more than ever. Coach Johnson’s combination of Ongezwa Hagu and Asive Gilifile proved to be the winning strategy for the team as they managed to widen the gap for the South Africans by 43-21. The Congolese unfortunately could not handle the pressure from the AmaWheelie Girls and cracked under the South African heat on the court. The AmaWheelie Girls sailed effortlessly into the final quarter winning the game 57-32. 

Sasol U25 AmaWheelie Girls celebrating their success
Sasol U25 AmaWheelie Girls celebrating their success

Wheelchair Basketball South Africa, Director Gerry Smith expressed his sentiments about the tournament, “We as WBSA are extremely proud of our team, they had a fantastic tournament after facing tough opponents in the competition. The team showcased huge progress and development from how they played at beginning of the year. Coach Trooper’s experience made a positive impact on our players. We would like to thank and congratulate all the countries that took part in the tournament.”

AmaWheelie Girls Captain, Michelle Moganedi shared her thoughts about the tournament. “This tournament has been one of my highlights this year, there were times when I wasn’t happy about my performance however having Coach Trooper and my teammates boosting my confidence, helped during the tournament. I would like to express my gratitude to Sasol for always making sure that we have the best time during our tournaments. My teammates and I are happy that we qualified for the world championship.”

Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorship expressed her excitement after the big win “We are proud of the team’s performance during the tournament, having won all their matches showcased their dedication and hard work to the game of wheelchair basketball. We would like to congratulate them as they have again proven that nothing is impossible when the right effort is put in and hope that they continue to live the impossible in everything they do. Not forgetting Coach Trooper and the technical team for all the hard work, making sure that the players do their best on the court. Finally, to the entire WBSA team, we thank you for the continued partnership and best wishes for your preparation for the world championship”

Tournament Awards

Aviwe Ngoni – All Star Award for 1 Pointer
Asive Gilifile – Most Valuable Player
Michelle Moganedi – All Star Player

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