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.
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.
Watch the 2020 Afro Paralympic Qualifiers