Following a five-year hiatus of representing his country, Richard Nortje will take to the court for South Africa once again at this year’s 2020 Afro Paralympic Qualifiers.
Nortje has been concentrating on his club career in Spain for the past few years, but with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, he was motivated to play for his country again.
“It is a great honour and privilege to pull on the green and gold again and I am looking forward to guiding our boys to Tokyo. My goal is to deliver the best performances possible and our team goal is to qualify for Tokyo 2020.”
South Africa, who’s last appearance at a Paralympic Games was in London 2012, will be looking to topple Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria in a bid to secure the ticket to Tokyo, and the experience of Nortje will certainly be an asset for the South Africans to assist them in their mission.
“I’ve been playing 28 years and what I enjoy most of all is seeing the results we have worked so hard for. The preparation for the tournament has been long and hard, and we hope to be able to play some good basketball and ultimately qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics.”
Making four changes from the team that finished fourth in the 2017 Africa World Championships Qualifiers, South Africa’s Head Coach, Lydia Dumond, commented on the team selected:
“I am very happy with the 12 players we have selected for the Tournament. We have players with vast international experience and a mix of young up and coming players. The senior players will ensure we remain composed throughout the team. The key players to watch being Richard Nortje, Shane Williams, and Simanga Mbhele.”
“Our preparation has gone as planned. Our team are fit and motivated and I am happy with how they are performing. At this stage of our preparations, the focus is on team cohesion and unity.
“Our collective goal at the beginning of this journey has not changed. Our goal is to win the tournament and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Every player in the team understands the vision and goals and with focused determination and hard work we will achieve this and reclaim our Number 1 crown in Africa.”
South Africa will open their campaign against Egypt at 18:00pm on Sunday 1st March.