11 August 2011
SEYCHELLES : Sylla unstoppable as Seychelles topple champions
On form Abdel Sylla yesterday scored 27 points to steer Seychelles past defending champions Reunion on a 66-62 score at the Palais des Sports to qualify for the final on Friday.
In the final, Seychelles will play against Mayotte who qualified after their semifinal opponents Madagascar decided not to play after Charles Ramsdell, who only acquired Malagasy citizenship in early August, was once again not allowed to take part in the game.
The local selection started yesterday’s encounter on a rather slow tempo and trailed 0-8 in the first two minutes of the match, before Sylla made it 5-10. A trey from captain Cyril Agrippine and another two-pointer from Amadou Sylla tied the match at 10-10.The game then turned into a give and take affair.
The score remained close all throughout the first quarter which ended 19-17 in favour of Reunion.
The two teams strengthened their defence in the second quarter, but the cheers of the local supporters inside the packed arena boosted the home team who had a slight two-point lead – 29-27 – at half-time.
In the third quarter, Seychelles came out stronger as Neddy ‘Oye’ Fanchette and Robert Léon helped Sylla in offence and defence, bringing their point advantage to eight – 51-43.
Reunion fought back in the last period of the match, cutting the deficit to one point ¬– 53-52– before taking the lead at 57-54.
After a time-out by coach Dominique Gueret, Seychelles stepped up their game and Reggie Ah-kong gave them the lead at 59-57. Seychelles held on to the lead, ending the match with a four-point advantage – 66-62.
Man-of-the-match Abdel Sylla dedicated the win to the loyal fans. “When you have a crowd like this backing you up, you cannot afford to let them down and winning is a must,” he said.
He also congratulated his team mates who never gave up, even when the team trailed, as well as their opponents for the good match.
“The Almighty God was with us today and we must thank Him,” added the 2.05m centre.
Unlike their male compatriots, the women’s team will play the third-place match against Mauritius following their heavy 53-93 loss against defending champions Madagascar yesterday. The Seychelles selection lost all four quarters 16-24, 11-21, 12-21 and 14-27
Head coach Phillip Arissol said he is satisfied with his team’s defence, despite their poor offence.
“We managed to contain our opponents defensively, but we missed too many easy baskets,” he explained.
“For the third place match, we are going all out to at least win something on home soil,” he added.
In the other semifinal match, Reunion defeated Mauritius 85-44.