South African U23 National Team tackle the Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball in Dubai for the first time

Monday, 15 May 2017

The South African Under 23 Wheelchair Basketball team, affectionally known as the Sasol Amawheelaboys, were drawn in Group B of the 9th Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, being played in Dubai from 14-18 May 2017.

With only 7 countries taking part in this prestigious tournament, the teams were spilt into 2 pools, one pool with 4 teams and the other with 3 teams.

Drawn in South Africa’s pool was the host United Arab Emirates Men’s Senior Team and Great Britain Under 23, who the Amawheelaboys will meet again in a few weeks in Toronto, during the 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball World Championship.

Group A consists of Pre-Tournament favourites, Thailand Senior Team, Japan Under 23, Saudi Arabia Senior Team and Bahrain Senior Team.

The tournament serves as vital preparation for the Sasol Amawheelaboys, who have a very young team leading into the World Championships.

First up for the Sasol Amawheela Boys was Paralympic Bronze Medallists Great Britain in the opening game of the Fazza Tournament on Sunday 14 May.

Great Britain made their intentions clear from the outset, putting the young South African’s under intense pressure from the first minute, with their Captain Gregg Warburton, leading from the front.

At the end of the first period, Great Britain had a commanding 11-point lead, with the Sasol Amawheelaboys battling to adapt to the clinical nature of the British play, with the period ending 23 -12 to Great Britain.

Clearly rattled, the young South African’s struggled to turn things round in the second quarter, and it took some stern words from Coach Allen Mtatase to keep the boys in the game. Great Britain extended their lead to 17 points, going in at half time with a commanding 53-16 lead.

From then on it was a case of damage limitation for the Amawheelaboys, but to their credit, they did not roll over, and gave a spirited display in the third quarter with some more intense play and they ended the third quarter 73-27.

The fourth quarter, saw the Amawheelaboys fighting, which gave the coaching staff some encouragement ahead of our next game against the United Arab Emirates, however they were unable to prevent Great Britain from reaching the 100-point mark, and eventually succumbed 101 – 42.

Brenda Mopeli, Sasol Brand Marketing Specialist said” Despite the heavy loss, the experience for the South African youngsters will afford them the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments ahead of the World Championships in Toronto starting in early June. We at Sasol are proud and impressed with the phenomenal achievements that the amaWheelaboys keep striving towards.”

© COPYRIGHT 2013 Sasol in Sport - Wheelchair Basketball