New caps add verve to wheelchair squad

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Malcolm Chinian, Luvuyo Mbanda and Jaco Velloen are the new caps that have been brought in to the South African wheelchair basketball squad for next year's All Africa Games and the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

The trio come from the national under-23 side that walloped Angola 78-38 in the Vodacom Challenge at the Mandeville Indoor Centre last Saturday.

National team coach Viv Sierra announced his 15-man team after watching the friendly international.

He says the squad will make up the core of the team for the All Africa Games in Algeria in July.

It will then be reduced to 12 for the Beijing Paralympics.

"We have worked hard to groom these players and it's good to see them coming through into the national team now," said Sierra.

"Malcolm will probably be one of the fastest players internationally. Luvuyo has a lot of potential and he adds a lot of depth because of his height.

"Jaco is probably the tallest player internationally at the moment."

Sierra said he planned to bring more professionalism to the squad.

"I've brought in a sports psychologist to help players who do not travel well."

The squad: Shaun Hartnick, Justin Govender (vice captain), Marcus Retief, Malcolm Chinian, Nick Taylor, Marius Papenfus (captain), Siphomandla Gumbi, Thandile Zonke, Luvuyo Mbanda, David Curle, Willie Mulder, Grant Waites, Jeremy Nel, Jaco Velloen, Richard Nortje.

Management: Viv Sierra (coach), Kelebone Mosoue (assistant coach), Willie Riechert (manager).