South Africa’s bid to clinch a spot at the 2018 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship was dealt a minor setback as they suffered a 68-41 loss against Morocco at the IWBF Africa World Championship Qualifiers in Tongaat on Saturday evening.
The Sasol-sponsored South Africans, or “Amawheelaboys” as they are affectionately known, struggled to get going in the tough and very physical encounter but showed great determination and character in the second half as they attempted an unlikely fight back.
Morocco proved to be more clinical in attack and deservedly took the first quarter 17-10. Despite the promise of a South African comeback, the teams went into the half time break with Morocco holding a commanding 34-15 lead.
Morocco’s vast international experience came to the fore in the second half as they controlled matters in the third quarter where they added 20 points to their total before sealing the game. The start may not what the South Africans would have wanted but they are still firmly in the race to clinch the spot to Germany.
“Amawheelaboys” will now seek redemption in their second game on Sunday afternoon when they square up against the Egyptians in a must in encounter if they are to keep their World Championship hopes alive at 15h00.
In other action on Sunday, the senior national women’s team, “Amawheelagirls”, will open their quest with a clash against neighbouring Zimbabwe at the same venue at 13h00.
The IWBF Africa World Championship Qualifiers 2017 serve as a qualifier for the 2018 World Championships which will be held in Hamburg, Germany and teams will be battling for one qualifying spot.
South Africa’s Senior National men’s team are competing in a pool that includes Morocco, Angola, Kenya, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Egypt; while the women’s team comprises South Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Zimbabwe.
The qualifying tournament is being held at the Tongaat Sports Centre and will conclude on Friday, 24 November 2017.