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Amawheelies ready to take the world

THE South African men’s Under-23 wheelchair basketball team is ready to do duty in Toronto, Canada at the 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship where they are expected to hold their own against the world’s best.

World Wheelchair Basketball Championships are an elite international competition contested by the top men’s U/23 national teams from across the globe.

The 2017 Men’s U23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship runs from June 8-16 and features 12 teams from four International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) zones as they vie for the highly-coveted world championship title.

The SA U23 Men’s team, affectionately known as ‘Sasol Amawheelies’, are representing Africa at the at the championship following their impressive run at the U23 African World Championship Qualifier in December last year where they were crowned the continental champions, after beating Nigeria. This year marks South Africa’s third appearance at the event, having played at the championship in 2013 and 2009.

The young SA side are in group B alongside the United State of America, Japan, Great Britain, France and Germany whom they will face in their opening fixture on Thursday, 8 June 2017. The Germans enter the tournament on a high note as the reigning world champions.

Team head coach Allen Mtatase is particularly excited about the prospect of coming up against some of the top teams in the World Championships.

‘It’s the biggest event this team has ever played in and we as a team are excited about testing our skills against the best,” said Mtatase.

“The experience the players will bring from the Dubai tournament will certainly be beneficial against the likes of Germany and USA. We know what it is like to play for our country in front of a crowd and to sing the national anthem‚ and hopefully that experience will help us a great deal here in Canada.”

Team South Africa will kick-start their campaign on Thursday against Germany and after dominating opposing teams at the U23 African Championship qualifiers, the team enters the tournament looking to improve on their previous (2013) 11th place finish.


Additional Info: SA Fixtures in Group B
Session Game Match Pool Group Canada Time RSA Time Home Away
Day 1 – Thursday, 08 June 2017
2 4 B 15:00-17:00 21:00-23:00 RSA Germany
Day 2 – Friday, 09 June 2017
1 9 B 12:00-14:00 18:00-20:00 France RSA
Day 3 – Saturday, 10 June 2017
1 15 B 12:00-14:00 18:00-20:00 RSA Japan
Day 4 – Sunday, 11 June 2017
1 19 B 08:00-10:00 14:00-16:00 Great Britain RSA
Day 5 – Monday, 12 June 2017
1 27 B 12:00-14:00 18:00-20:00 USA RSA


General view during the South Africa training session at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Canada on on June 6 2017©Barry Aldworth/eXpect LIFE

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