04.06.2001 Basketball

Ghana breaks basketball jinx

Ghana breaks basketball jinx
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Ghana National Men's Basketball Team decisively thrashed their Togolese counterparts 69-50 in an international friendly match played in Lome at the weekend.

Not only did the Ghanaians win but they also broke a 20 year-old record of successive losses to their next-door neighbours on the Togolese soil.

The Togolese coach Alfred Johnson commenting on his team's defeat said: "We are small men, strong and without any tall shooters."

Indeed the Ghanaian team was made up of players whose average height was over six feet and that paid off as each of them dunked with cheeky ease drawing wild cheers from the crowd.

Ghana's female team coach Ramatu Sulemana, who stood in for hospitalised coach Lawal Peregiono-Braimah, said, "the boys understood my philosophy to win and displayed abundant cohesion and high work rate".

Mime Mensal Falconer became an instant celebrity when 15 minutes after the match, he was mobbed by a bevy of Togolese girls, who struggled to take his autograph.

Stopper Eric Tetteh, marshalled his side into an early 23-14 lead in the first half in which they largely studied their opponents' tactics.

Miss Georgina Djameh, Charge d' Affaires of the Ghana Embassy in Togo accompanied by Mr Dawson Amoah earlier inspected the two teams urging them to play it fairly.

The tall Ghanaians raced into an early 15-10 lead by shooting from the three-point area thus earning many points from dunking.

In search of an antidote to counter the striking prowess of their opponents, the Togolese put up fast breaks as their weapon but effective close marking prevented them from scoring.

Kweku Frimpong, the biggest player on court put up a defensive network together with Richard Darko and in the process neutralized many of the dangerous moves by the hosts.

Unlike their opponents, the Togolese defence could not withstand the ferocity of the attacking play of the Ghanaians and they conceded baskets in rapid succession.

Benin, which was to take part in the contest, failed to turn up thus forcing Ghana to play a second game against the Togolese. Ghana confirmed her supremacy with another 44-40 baskets win.

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