Sports officials said the Iraqi junior basketball team has a tough road ahead of them at the Asian Championship, after the team was placed in a difficult group.
The championship will begin in Vietnam on October 18th. Iraq will play in Group C with South Korea, Uzbekistan and Lebanon.
Secretary of the Iraqi Central Basketball Federation Khaled Nejim said these teams "are very strong and possess high levels and capabilities in the game".
"However, the federation has met all the needs of the junior team in order to develop their skills," he said. "We seek to confirm our excellence through the junior team, which is seen as the future of basketball because of the good and distinguished players who play in its lines."
Nejim said the federation has introduced Iraqi players to internal and external training camps with the aim of developing their skills and helping them acquire additional experience to take part in the coming championships.
"The game federation has confidence in the capabilities of its players," he said. "They will be able to achieve positive results. I myself expect that they will qualify to the quarter-finals in the Asian event."
Iraqi junior basketball team coach Mohammed al-Najjar is also confident the team will do well. "Our chances in the Asian championship are good, although our task is tough," he said.
Al-Najjar said the Iraqi team is working hard with the coaching staff to reach full preparedness before the start of championship.
"Iraqi basketball has a strong young team and we can benefit from its players by refining their skills and raising their capabilities," he said. "This is the future team for Iraqi basketball."
Al-Najjar stressed the importance of developing basketball in Iraq by holding championships for all age groups in provinces across the country, and by developing the infrastructure for holding championships and training sessions by preparing suitable halls.
"Infrastructure has a role in developing Iraqi sports," he said. "I think the latest step by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which prepared an indoor hall at the youth complex in Baghdad, is positive and will provide a venue for hosting national teams, including the junior team."
Mohannad Abdul Sattar, member of the basketball federation, said the Iraqi team has highly-skilled players.
"Our team has big chances to make important achievements, especially as our team has players who enjoy high levels and are thus qualified to represent Iraq," he said.
The Iraqi junior basketball team won first place in the West Asian Championship held in Erbil a few months ago.
In the coming Asian Championship, Group A is comprised of China, India, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei; Group B includes Iran, Qatar, Japan and Saudi Arabia; and Group D includes the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.