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."