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SASOL SA squad draws first blood against the French

By on October 30, 2010 in News

JOHANNESBURG, 29 October 2010 – In a tightly contested battle, the Sasol South Africa squad brought it home in the opening game of the French Internal Tour on Friday night.

The French suffered a 72-66 defeat at the Mandeville Indoor Stadium in Johannesburg, a victory that delighted national coach Patrick Fick and left his opposite number shaking his head in disbelief.

“I brought a young team to South Africa to train, but we still expected to win,” explained Frank Belen, adding that the team he brought includes just one player from the team that finished second at the World Championships in July.

“I was told that the South African team was also very young, so I thought it would be an even match but the way that they played… they will be dangerous for the future.

“I still think we can win,  because we lost 30 balls; you can’t win when you lose that many balls, so I will talk to the players about that and we have to get it right.”

The national side led 21-15 after the first quarter but the French managed to close the gap and they finished the second quarter tied at 33-all.

Captain Marcus Retief opened the tab for the South Africans with a field goal and Sipho Gumbi got three in a row to swing the momentum back in South Africa’s favour. They closed out the third quarter on 17 points to 10 and led 50-43.

The national side continued to dominate in the last quarter, keeping the gap between six to 10 points.

In the last four minutes of the game, Marius Papenfus sunk two free throws and Odinga Mdingi scored his only two points in his debut performance that virtually broke the French attack.

“The odds were stacked against us before the game, but we believed we could win,” said Fick. “I think it was very important for our team to win, because of the psychological advantage it will give us.

“The French will come at us hard in game two. Even as their second team, they are very experienced and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We managed to full court press them for most of the match but we are still shooting below 50%, so we can’t get over-confident though. We just have to be ready tomorrow.

“If we allow them to get too hot it becomes a lot harder to stop them. So we will have to get our lead early in the first quarter to keep them from getting too hot.”

Saturday’s game also signals a milestone for Papenfus, who will celebrate his 100th cap for South Africa. “It was a great honour for me to play one game for my country, so you can just imagine how proud I am to play my 100th game,” he said.

Papenfus captained the national side at the 2006 World Championship, the 2007 All Africa Games and IWBF Paralympic Qualifiers, as well as the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. He stepped down after the 2009 World Championship Qualifier at the end of last year.

The Sasol SA team faces France in the second game of the three-game test at 14h00 on Saturday. The final game will be played at 14h00 on Sunday.


20 Jaco Velloen

17 Thandile Zonke

14 Marius Papenfus

9 Sipho Gumbi

4 Luvuyo Mbanda

Article by  Michael Vlismas

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