The preliminary stages of the 2020 IWBF Afro Paralympic Qualifiers were coming to a close but the semi-final crossovers were still unknown, so placings were still at stake.
Game 7 – Egypt vs Algeria (Men)
In the first men’s game of the day, Algeria had a point to prove against Egypt in their final group game after they let a 12-point advantage slip to lose to South Africa by two the day before.
Egypt made it difficult for Algeria at the beginning as the two teams exchanged the lead for the first seven minutes, but an unsportsmanlike foul against Egypt’s Abbas sent Algeria on a nine-point run in the final two minutes of the quarter giving them a ten point advantage at the end of the first. It was a lead they continued to build on in the second, winning it 21-14, giving them a healthy half-time cushion, 42-25.
Egypt fought valiantly in the third to lose it by a single point, 10-11, but a number of turnovers and fouls in the fourth saw them struggle to find any consistency as three of their players were fouled out. Algeria capitalised on this and rounded off the game with a 29-8 quarter to finish with a commanding victory of 82-43.
Algeria’s captain Nabil Guedoun led his team with 18 points and was named Sasol Player of the Match. Egypt’s Magdy Abbas finished top scorer of his team with 9 points.
Game 9 – South Africa vs Morocco (Men)
In the final men’s game of the group stage, South Africa were looking to maintain their unbeaten run and secure their place at the top of the table, whilst Morocco were looking to get their second win of the tournament and create a three-way tie for placings 1-3.
It was a scrappy start to the game with both teams giving away a number of turnovers, but it was Morocco who finished the opening quarter the stronger of the two, spearheaded by Rida Maattaoui, to lead by eight, 17-9.
South Africa looked to be letting the game slip away as Morocco opened up a lead of 14 points half-way through the second, but a change of line-up from Head Coach Lydia Dumond saw the combination of Shane Williams and Richard Nortje help them win the quarter, 16-15.
South Africa brought the game back to three at the start of the third, but a defensive tactic change saw Morocco put on the full-court press which South Africa struggled to get out of giving Morocco the chance to re-establish their seven-point lead going in to the final ten minutes.
South Africa scored first to close the gap to five points, but that was as close as they got as Morocco maintained their scoring winning the final quarter, 15-14, to send South Africa to their first defeat of the tournament, 70-62.
Morocco’s Rida Maataoui’s double-double of 26 points and 18 rebounds earned him the Sasol Player of the Match award. South Africa’s talisman Richard Nortje also finished with 26 points.
To decide the three-way tie, the points difference of the games between the three teams is taken into account. Morocco’s win by eight points was not enough to take top place from Algeria, who they lost to by six, however it did put them in to second above South Africa who beat Algeria by two points.
The semi-finals of the 2020 IWBF Afro Paralympic Qualifiers will see a re-run of today’s games with Algeria up against Egypt, and Morocco facing South Africa on Friday 6th March.
WATCH THE 2020 AFRO PARALYMPIC QUALIFIERS