Rayyan to play hard: Yaseen
DOHA AL RAYYAN Club, the most dominant team in the Qatar basketball, will be looking for a sound strategy to avoid another slip-up in the Emir Cup Basketball Championship final on Friday.
Rayyan boasts of 15 League crowns, seven Emir Cup titles in 11 finals and six Heir Apparent Cups. It got some measures of solace when it edged arch-rival Al Gharafa 3- 1 in the best of five semi-finals series, avenging two successive losses to Gharafa in the Emir Cup finals in the past two seasons.
Rayyan managed to surmount one hurdle but is up against another big challenge in form of Al Sadd in the final at Al Gharafa Club indoor hall.
This is the second meeting between the two rivals in the final, with Sadd having won the first one in 2004. During the current season, they clashed twice during the League and Rayyan came on the top in both the matches.
But Sadd is looking far more cohesive and sharp now than before.
What seems to be bothering Rayyan coach Brian Rowsom more than Al Sadd’s aggressive and slick play is the fluctuating form of his own team. He and the captain Yaseen Musa acknowledged during a press conference that their rival Sadd has been playing at a high level at the moment and the final would be very tough for it.
“Al Sadd has got three best Qatar national team players in Saad (Abdulrahman), Daoud (Musa) and Khalid (Suliman).
Their two American imports (Jason Fontenet and Michael Benjamin Southall), and two African players (Djibril Abdoulaye and Yousif Mohamed) are playing well,” said Musa.
“We respect Sadd and hopefully we both can fight well to show a good level of basketball to fans in the final,” he added.
Rowsom said: “What I like about Al Sadd is its new addition of the point guard. I feel he (Jason) is playing very well especially in the second Cup.
He has made the team a little bit faster.
“Captain Sadd and other two national players are not afraid of Rayyan because they have been playing with our players for a long time. They know one another very well.
Also Sadd is playing the best offensive game and so it is going to be a difficult final.” “We have had some minor injuries with Musa and De Von (Hardin) getting hit in the eye. Targuy (Ngombo) is coming back to his 100 percent. All my players are ok. We’re preparing hard for the final and hopefully, we’ll be out there to give our best as well,” said Rowsom.
The Rayyan coach also said: “Even though we beat Gharafa 3-1 in the semi-finals, it was not easy. Gharafa played very good game. I don’t know the reasons for this (fluctuating form). We’ve had ups and downs in the games. I think that we did not start well in one or two games in the semis.
“I just hope that we can focus on full 40 minutes on Friday and play well from the beginning to the end, ” said Rowsom The Rayyan skipper said “The level of the team is going high. Except for Wakrah and Qatar Sports Club, all teams are very close now. It is not possible to come out on the court and defeat Gharafa by 20 or 30 points in each match. If we score 20 points in a quarter, other teams are coming back strongly and scoring 10 or 15. We just hope that we can play to our potential on Friday.” The former Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets forward Rowsom spoke about having a series in the final as well. “I’d have preferred a series in the final because it proves the best team. In one game, anything can happen and it doesn’t give the better team a good chance to win.
“But I understand that all the important people in Qatar would be present in the final, so it is fine with me. We have to be just prepared for the last 40 minutes of the Cup and I hope the best team wins this game,” said the American.
Cars in raffle draw On the last day of the Cup, the Qatar Basketball Federation has made an elaborate arrangements to make it a memorable and entertaining event. There are two cars to be won during the raffle draw for the fans. Also 30 air tickets for trips to Lebanon and the Philippines are up for grabs.
The best photographs of the matches will also be rewarded.
The first prize is QR 5,000, while the second will fetch QR3,000. There are three cash awards of QR 2,000 each for the third to fifth place winners.
The free throws winners will get QR 300 for a successful free throw, QR500 for threepointer and QR10,000 for half-court shots. Ibn Al Qayem Bookstore will gift a purchase coupon for each school student, witnessing the final match.