Iraqi basketball team prepares for Arab championship in Lebanon

[Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images] The Iraqi team played against difficult opponents in the recent Asian championship.

[Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images] The Iraqi team played against difficult opponents in the recent Asian championship.

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The Iraqi national basketball team continues to train in Duhok in preparation for the Arab Championship in Lebanon, which is scheduled to kick off September 12th.

Abbas Khudhair, member of the Iraqi Central Basketball Association (ICBA) and team supervisor, said team officials hope the players will be given the chance to participate in an external training camp before the start of the championship.

"An external training camp will boost the capabilities of the team players, since they will play practice matches that will be very beneficial for them," Khudhair told Mawtani.

"The level of the team is continuously developing, given that most of the players in the lineup took part in at least two official championships in the past," Khudhair said. "They are now continuing their training sessions with high spirits and morale."

There are 13 players participating in the Duhok training program, including Ahmed Obaid, Mohammed Dhia, Ali Abdullah, Omar Amer, Alaa Selim, Ali Amer, and Mustafa Jassim.

Iraqi national basketball team coach Fikrat Toma said playing in the Asian championship, which was also held in Lebanon, was good preparation for the team.

"The players have benefited from playing against Asian teams in the Asian championship that concluded recently in Lebanon, where we played against very tough teams," Toma said. "Although we did not win an advanced place, we played big matches."

In the Arab championship, the Iraqi team will play in Group B with Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.

Group A includes Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Kuwait.

"The most difficult match for our team is the one against Lebanon, one of the strongest teams on both the Arab and Asian levels," Toma said. "I expect that [Lebanon] will top the group. As to the other teams, I think that their levels are close to the level of our team, which started to significantly develop recently."

"For the time being, the morale of team players is very high," said national team player Ahmed Obaid. "They continue their training sessions in Duhok province with great enthusiasm."

"We hope that the game association will continue their attempts to secure an external training camp for us so that we may play a number of practice matches," Obaid said. "Such matches will be significantly beneficial for our players who need to play strong matches."

The Iraqi national basketball team participated in an external training camp in Turkey before the start of the Asian championship. Obaid said the camp was beneficial and clearly had a positive impact on the performance of players.

National team player Omar Amer said the team has reached a high degree of harmony, noting that the players benefited significantly from playing against other teams, especially in the Asian championship.

"Qualification to the semi-final round in the next Arab championship will be possible for our national team," Amer said. "We have great hopes to qualify to that round after the complete preparedness that our team has reached."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    جاسم

    2010-9-14

    Basketball is one of the popular sports in Iraq which has an audience. Nowadays, however, many basketball players are neglected by the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Thus, there are many problems inside the Olympic Committee which have led to the negligence of sports in Iraq. In fact, the lack of basketball venues makes a lot of players abandon this kind of sport and many turn to another one, or even resign from sports. In fact, the psychological state of these players is difficult since they want to excel and be among the distinguished players of this game. Unfortunately, Iraq, the Iraqi government and whoever has something to do with sports in Iraq, are busy achieving their personal interests at the expense of the higher interests. Therefore, the Iraqi government and the Iraqi National Olympic Committee must hurry in finding solutions to this crisis, so as to promote Iraqi sports, and mainly basketball. In reality, the latter is among the enjoyable games and it has its fans inside Iraq. As a matter of fact, the government must establish playing courts and pave the way for Iraqi sportsmen to participate in training inside the halls, which must conform to the international sport norms. In addition, the Iraqi Olympic Committee must organize basketball training camps for youth in foreign countries that are good at basketball, such as the USA and other countries which are famous for this game. In so doing, the Iraqi basketball player will be at his best status and the Iraqi National Team will be able to participate in foreign championships in order to win rewards and medals at the international level. This will make Iraq better in sports, although we already knew that the Iraqi government considered terrorism and its eradication a more important issue. Thus, we must give it its rightful place, as they are responsible for Iraqis’ lives in the case of danger and we hope that the Iraqi government will establish basketball venues after the security situation is restored, because basketball is a very enjoyable game.

  • ابو رقية

    2010-9-14

    Basketball has not developed and reached the required level in Iraq, as has the level of the rest of the basketball teams in the Arab States. Lebanon, for example, has a very strong basketball team, because the basketball league there is strong and there are professional players who are taken care of by having all their needs provided for. But in Iraq there is no such attention, causing the deterioration of basketball in Iraq, because there is no serious attention given to this sport. Many people believe basketball to be a secondary game which does not have many fans, but, on the contrary, there are a lot of fans of this sport, and they watch it and hope that there will be a big basketball league in Iraq so as to witness enthusiastic matches. The national basketball team should develop its performance when participating in tournaments. Also, we can notice that the northern clubs are considered better than the central and southern clubs in basketball. The Iraqi basketball team lost all its matches in the last tournament held in Qatar, leaving the tournament in the first round. Why is there this neglect of a nice sport like basketball?