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Saadoun Al Kuwari (third left), Executive Director of Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF), during the draw ceremony of the Emir Cup at St Regis Hotel in Doha. Also in the picture is captain of Eljaish team Bakar Mohammed (left) and Al Rayyan forward Yasseen Moussa (second left).PICTURES: SHAIVAL DALAL
DOHA: Basketball giants Al Rayyan, the Heir Apparent Cup champions last week, could meet fast-improving Eljaish in yet another final if both the teams weave their way through the early and knockout rounds of the Emir Cup starting later this month.
Al Rayyan and HA Cup runners-up Eljaish yesterday were drawn in separate groups at the draw ceremony of the Emir Cup, the country’s top basketball event.
Brian Rowsom-coached Al Rayyan were placed in group II along with Al Arabi, Al Wakrah, Qatar SC and Al Gharafa.
Eljaish, who reached the final of the HA Cup unbeaten, were drawn along side Al Sadd, Al Ahli and Al Shamal.
In the first game of this year’s Emir Cup, Al Arabi will take on Al Gharafa whereas Al Wakrah play Qatar SC on March 26, the opening day of the championship.
The final will be stage on April 19 after 24 games are held by the Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF). All games will be played Al Gharafa Indoor Hall.
“The draw is somewhat equal for most teams,” Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrehman Al Thani (pictured top right), President of Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) said.
“Eljaish is with Al Sadd, Al Ahli and Al Shamal. That’s a fair distribution of the teams. We are hoping to see a keenly-contested tournament,” Sheikh Saoud said after the draw ceremony was conducted at St Regis Hotel.
Sheikh Saoud said QBF would be organising events right throughout the season in an attempt to attract the younger generation to the sport.
“The reason we are organising so many events so that we create an infrastructure of excellence that leads us to produce an Olympic Games squad.
“It is a collective effort. We want help of all segments of the society to achieve this goal - media, sponsor, fans - we need their support.
“We seek improvement in the skills of the local players. We have strategies in mind that we intend to implement to help players improve their skills. Quality will only improve if the players improve their skills on the court,” Sheikh Saoud said.
The quarter-finals of the Emir Cup will begin on April 9 whereas the semi-finals will be held on April 14. THE PENINSULA