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Basketball side keen to impress at wheelchair World Cup

SA wheel chair basketball campaign with floating  continetall crown IMAGE GIFT NDOLWANE

SA wheel chair basketball captain with floating continetall crown IMAGE GIFT NDOLWANE

By GIFT NDOLWANE

JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa is confident of overcoming the absence of inspirational captain, Steven Walgenbach, at the Under 23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship (WWBC) in Canada.
The Limpopo-born skipper has been ruled out of the global tournament because of illness.
Doctors withdrew him from the contingent that flew out of the country on Sunday ahead of the tournament to run until the 18th.
Team manager, Gerry Smith, likened Walgenbach to football star, Chistiano Ronaldo, who is a talisman for Portugal and newly-crowned European champions, Real Madrid of Spain.
“Steven is our key player,” Smith said of the 19-year-old.
“He is our main points mean machine. He scores most of the points. I compare him Ronaldo. Losing Steve is like losing Ronaldo just before the Champions League final. That’s how serious it is.”
In the absence of the teenage sensation, Smith believes other members of the team will prove their mettle at the world showpiece.
“We expect other players to step up and show that there have got what it takes to seize this moment and shine,” Smith said.
The world’s premier junior wheelchair basketball will be held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

Over 400 athletes, coaches, officials, delegates, and volunteers will attend the event that features 12 participating countries.

Continental champions South Africa are in pool B alongside heavyweights Great Britain, Japan, United States, France and Germany.
The Africans had a disappointing campaign at the last tournament in Turkey (2013) finishing 11th of twelve teams.
“We are not far off. We expect to cause a few headaches,” said Smith.

Guardian
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