From 5th December to 10th December 2016 the U23 African World Championship Qualifier took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Three teams South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria competed at the Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Basketball Stadium, an international accredited basketball facility based in Johannesburg. The tournament was played with two round-robin format and with a final between the winner and runner up.
With one qualifying spot up for grabs it was all to play for and it showed with the first game between South Africa and Nigeria going into nail-biting overtime. At half time it was Nigeria who led by 2 points however it was the host team who came back to win the fourth quarter 12-9 and take the game into overtime (43-43). It was South Africa how continued to take the momentum into the extra quarter and won the game 52-49.
The second game of day one saw Zimbabwe play South Africa. Zimbabwe who had been hampered by Border Control issues getting to the tournament, causing them to be delayed by a day in transit and to top off their woes three of their players were withdrawn from the championships as a result of medical setbacks depleted their strength considerably. South Africa buoyed by their early win controlled the match and took a second win 68 – 34.
On day two Nigeria also went 2-0, dominating Zimbabwe 65 -29, whilst the return match between Nigeria and South Africa was just as exciting as the first, South Africa edging the game by just 3 points again, 43 to 40. It was a hard day on court for Zimbabwe on day three of the competition as both South Africa and Nigeria showed their strength against them winning, 86 – 28 and 63 – 23 respectively and both secured a spot in the final.
After two thrilling games already between South Africa and Nigeria, the final was set to be another classic. However it was South Africa who took the victory, defeating Nigeria 48 -36 and book a spot in the U23 World Championships in Toronto, Canada next June 2017.