Algeria got their 2020 IWBF Afro Paralympic Qualifiers campaigns off to a good start with wins in both the men’s and the women’s competition in Johannesburg on the opening day.

Game 1 – Morocco vs Algeria (Men)

Algeria men took to the court first against North-African rivals Morocco, in a re-run of the 2017 Africa Championships final, and the teams were neck and neck throughout with both teams establishing up to seven-point leads during the game but neither could hold on to those leads.

With the score 55-55 after forty minutes, they were forced into over-time. Algeria edged it in the second period of over-time outscoring Morocco 9-3 to claim victory, 70-64, and get their first win under their belts.

Algeria’s Omar Zidi was named Player of the Match hitting a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds, whilst Morocco’s Rida Maataoui also notched up a huge double-double with 36 points and 22 rebounds.

Game 2 – Algeria vs South Africa (Women)

Algeria women out-shot hosts South Africa in the opening game of the women’s competition at the 2020 Afro Paralympic Qualifiers, shooting at 39% to South Africa’s 23%. Algeria put their stamp on the game from the early stages, pushing out to a 16-4 lead in the first quarter, form which continued into the second as they took the quarter 16-2, to have a healthy gap at the break.

South Africa did not give up and continued to fight, tightening up their defence and growing into the game to win the second half 27-21, however the damage had already been done as Algeria, led by top-scorer Djamila Khemgani’s 17 points, sealed the first win 53-33. Khemgani was named as the Player of the Match for her performance. South Africa’s biggest contributors were Duduzile Gwaza and Kelebogile Moeng with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Ahmed Amer of Egypt challenges Jaco Van Niekerk of South Africa during the 2020 IWBF Afro Paralympic Qualifiers match between Algeria and South Africa on the 1 March 2020 at Mandeville Sports Centre, Johannesburg Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Game 3 – South Africa vs Egypt (Men)

South Africa men’s team secured the win over Egypt in their opening match of the 2020 Afro Paralympic Qualifiers. A close first half saw South Africa hold a slight lead of eight points 30-22.

Buoyed by a home court advantage South Africa stepped it up in the third quarter, as Richard Nortje found his scoring rhythm making 17 points in the quarter to assist South Africa to a 20-point advantage. Egypt rallied in the fourth but could only dent the deficit by one, giving the host nation an opening win, 72-53.

Three of South Africa’s players hit double figures, with Player of the Match awarded to Richard Nortje who top-scored with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Ashraf Amar led the scoring for Egypt with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

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