By Annette van Schalkwyk
The AmaWheelaBoys squad was announced after a three-day programme designed to determine the selection of the South African wheelchair basketball players in preparation for the 2019 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Africa Paralympic qualifiers and subsequent 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The training camp took place at the Mandeville Indoor Sports Centre on July 14 and involved a series of biometric testing, skills development and a competitive match between the current Sasol AmaWheelaBoys and those trying to break their way into the team.
A 16-man squad was announced by head coach Lydia Dumond who will now form the core group through the team’s preparations.
Dumond said she was pleased with the level of commitment on display this weekend.
“The players showed real hunger and determination to secure their place on the squad which was heartening. After a decent showing against top opposition in the Fazza Championship in Dubai we will be looking kick-on, work hard and ensure we are in the best shape possible ahead of next year’s Paralympic qualifiers. I have full confidence in the squad we have assembled and I am sure they will do South Africa proud over the coming year.”
Also read: Amawheelaboys move up in Fazza tournament
The squad, who will now begin building towards the 2019 Paralympic qualifiers in earnest, was announced on Saturday evening and consists of a mix of exciting young talent and experience. The High-Performance Coaching Commission, tasked with making the selection, named three uncapped players, including Sipho Ike Monti, Simangaye Shabalala and Bonginkosi Witbooi, who will be looking to impress alongside the likes of stalwarts Cecil Dumond and Thandile Zonke.
Sasol’s Group Brand Marketing manager Nozipho Mbatha said, “As partners to Wheelchair Basketball South Africa, we were immensely pleased to see the level of preparation and effort being put into our national wheelchair basketball team. The team is heading into a vital period and it is important that these preparations begin early. Our support of the Sasol AmaWheelaBoys is not only in line with Sasol’s overall support of people with disabilities but we believe they are a top class national team who will do us proud over the coming period. We have full confidence in the team and would like to wish them the best of luck.”
Also read: Amawheelaboys beat SA
The Sasol AmaWheelaBoys continue their preparations this weekend in the SuperSport All-Star match which will see a SuperSport Wheelchair Basketball all-star team take on the national side. The event takes place at Mandeville Indoor Sports Centre on July 21 with doors opening at 9am.
Sasol AmawheelaBoys National Squad:
1. Christiaan Bronkhorst – Gauteng
2. Cecil Dumond (captain) – North West
3. Kyle Bowles – KwaZulu-Natal
4. Allen Mtatase – Gauteng
5. Mgcini Mzileni – Eastern Cape
6. Jaco van Niekerk – Gauteng
7. Raketsing Molete – North West
8. Thandile Zonke (vice-captain) – Gauteng
9. Shane Williams – Western Cape
10. Sifiso Gama – Gauteng
11. Thabane Tshange – KwaZulu-Natal
12. Simanga Mbhele – North West
13. Lwando Mamfengu – Gauteng
14. Bonginkosi Witbooi – North West
15. Simangaye Shabalala – KwaZulu-Natal
16. Sipho Ike Monti – Gauteng