Wednesday, July 18, 2012

African Qualifying

The African tournament was wide open, the favorites were the host South Africa, but many teams had a strong shot at making the finals. With the lack of arenas in South Africa, the set up was different. Group A would play in Cape Town, and Group B in Durban. The final 4 would take place in Johannesburg. South Africa and Algeria faced off in the opening game in Cape Town. South Africa won by 8, and started the tournament off right. Egypt and the Ivory Coast played with the Egyptians rallying late and downing the upstart Ivory Coast team. Group B opened with the Cameroon team upsetting the Ugandan team with a big 3rd quarter. Kenya faced with their eyes set on beating the 40th ranked team in the world. They couldn’t close the game in the end and Tunisia won their first group game. 

South Africa played the Egyptians trying to advance to the next round. They were successful with an 11 point win. Algeria and Ivory Coast were trying to set up a win-and-your-in game in the next round against Egypt, Algeria won handily setting up the showdown. Tunisia and Uganda played in Durban, and the Ugandans opened a 12 point lead and Tunisia never got within 4 the rest of the game. Kenya played Cameroon trying to earn their first win and tie up Group B 1-1. Kenya did win, setting the score for the 3rd game. 

 South Africa was already in the knockouts, and had the Ivory Coast between them and the knockouts. The starters were phased out with the lead at 15, and the Ivory Coast team went home with a 0-3 record. The climax of group B came with Algeria and Egypt playing to advance. The Egyptians had the lead in but the Algerians came back and won by 4 and set a date with the winner of group B. Uganda-Kenya, and Tunisia-Cameroon with each winner advancing to the knockout stage. Uganda took a 2 point lead into the 4th and stretched it to 12 before the final buzzer. Cameroon opened up a 8 point lead at half, and the Tunisian team slowly lowered the lead, and then passed the Cameroon team halfway through the 4th and never looked back. 

South Africa and Tunisia matched up in Jo-Burg, and Mikel Mkandla led the South Africans to a victory with an 18 point performance. Uganda won group B, and faced Algeria looking for a finals appearance. Uganda’s barber pole uniforms were all over in their victory against the Algerians with a 7 point victory, which was never really close. The South Africans were looking to join China as a team winning their home tournament. They played their best game of the tournament, and sent the Ugandans home, and booked their ticket to the US.
Qualified teams

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