Ready for a slam dunk

BELGRADE - University Sport South Africa (Ussa's) men's basketball team hope to get their 25th World Student Games campaign off to a great start by beating Latvia in their opening match at the local sports arena at 8pm tonight.

BELGRADE - University Sport South Africa (Ussa's) men's basketball team hope to get their 25th World Student Games campaign off to a great start by beating Latvia in their opening match at the local sports arena at 8pm tonight.

South Africa have been drawn with Latvia and Germany in the preliminary pool stage of this 26-nation tournament.

Frans Mamabolo, the team's manager, said their objective was to reach the knockout stages.

"We are looking forward to doing well in this tournament, we are not here in Serbia on holiday but to represent South Africa to the best of our ability. We have to win one of the first two opening games to ensure that we are through to the second round," he said.

"Latvia are a closed book but our technical staff members [head coach Mudupi Theletjane and assistant Quinton Rapitse] are busy doing research about them in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Naturally, it's gonna be a tough match because the fact that Latvia have qualified for this tournament tells you they are one of the best teams.

"We will treat them with the type of respect they deserve," said Mamabolo, whose team has played two warm-up matches since landing last Thursday.

They received a free basketball lesson in a 103-39 defeat by Greece and went down 90-51 to Australia .

Tomorrow, South Africa take on Germany at 3pm.

Ayan da Shange and Nhlanhla Dlamini are also part of Basketball South Africa's (BSA) senior men's team.

Malesela "Gogga" Maleka, the BSA president, is also in Serbia as a member of the Federation of International University Sport's communications and media subcommittee.

The 25th World Student Games competition started on Tuesday, when the SA women's soccer side, who were without four regular defenders, were humiliated 7-1 by Brazil. The defenders arrived in Belgrade only on Wednesday. The side was scheduled to play South Korea in Belgrade last night and meet Germany tomorrow.

l Ramatsiyi Moholoa is in Serbia as a guest of Sascoc and Ussa.

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