Qatar bank on experience at FIBA Asia championship
23 Sep 2015 - 1:12
DOHA: Experience will not be in short supply when Qatar run onto the court to play at the FIBA Asia Championship in their opener against Kazakhstan.
Half of the 12-man squad that will compete in Changsha, China, from today to October 3 featured at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in the Philippines when the team reached the quarter-finals before falling to Korea.
On the roster for the second consecutive championship are Saad Abdulrahman, Daoud Mousa Daoud, Khalid Suliman Abdi, Erfan Ali Saeed, Mohammed Saleem Abdullah and Mohd Yousuf Mohammed.
Daoud had some big games, including in a 75-61 win over Jordan.
The 1.94m guard was the team’s second-leading scorer two years ago averaging 10.8 points per game and Saeed was fourth (10.2 points).
Qatar, who are coached by Vasileios Fragkias, will play in Group D against Chinese Taipei, Lebanon and Kazakhstan, with only the top three teams advancing to the second round.
The side that wins the FIBA Asia Championship will clinch a spot in the Rio de Janeiro Games.
The teams that finish second, third and fourth will claim places in one of the three 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
Qatar final roster for 2015 FIBA Asia Championship: Khalid Suliman Abdi, Mohammed Seleem Abdulla, Mohammed Seleem Abdulla, Khalid Abdalla, Daoud Mousa Daoud, Clinton Finhoir J III, Abduallah Shaher Matalkeh, Mohamed Hassan Mohamed, Mohd Yousuf Mohammed, Abdulrahman Mohamed Saad, Erfan Ali Saeed and Yassin Mahdi F Taha.
Meanwhile, China are banking on home-court advantage and a tall frontline to help them knock Iran off the throne at the FIBA Asia Championship.
China and Iran enter the competition as favorites, with three titles in the four editions of the event dating back to 2007.
China were once the dominant side in the region, winning 13 of 15 FIBA Asia Championships from 1975 to 2003.
The only time China has won since was 2011.
At that tournament, Jordan upset Iran in the quarter-finals and nearly beat the Chinese in the title game.
A player that has been in the China senior team since the 2004 Olympics, the 2.13m power forward Yi Jianlian, figures to have a prominent role in Changsha-Hunan.
Yi was not at his best a couple of years ago because of injuries but his athleticism and experience will be important factors for a team that also has skyscrapers in 21-year-old Wang Zhelin (2.14m), 23-year-old Li Muhao (2.18m) and 19-year-old Zhou Qi (2.17m).
Others with experience are Chinese veterans Liu Wei, Guo Ailun and Zhou Peng.
Gong Luming, the coach of China, knows that Iran will be formidable.
The Iranians’ new coach, former Germany and Poland boss Dirk Bauermann, inherited a lot of talent and experience.
An Iran squad that features giant centre Hamed Haddadi, point guard Mahdi Kamrany, small forwards Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Oshin Sahakian - all players with a lot of national team games under their belts - should also get a major contribution from promising youngster Behnam Yakhchali.
“The mindset for us is always the gold medal and qualifying directly for the Olympics,” Sahakian said in an interview with FIBA.com. The Peninsula