Qatar go down fighting in final

QATAR had ample home support, strong players and a wily tactician at the helm, but those were not enough for them to overcome Egypt (21-26) in the final at the Qatar Women’s Sport Committee Indoor Hall last week. The winners led 13-10 at half-time.

Egypt thus won their fourth consecutive title. Qatar had held them to a 27-27 draw in the group stage.

But Egyptian left-back Hussein Ali Zaki, who was off-colour then, made the difference. He scored 12 goals to take the game away from the hosts and was adjudged the man of the match.

Both teams started slowly and took time to assess their opponents. The home side sorely missed their first choice keeper Yousef Maalem, who was overlooked due to personal reasons. His replacement Mohsin Yafai, another senior player, was not at his best.

At the other end, Egypt owed much of their success to goalkeeper Karim Hendawy, who saved several sure shots at goal.

Right-winger Abdullah Hafiz Ramadan, who scored eight goals, was Qatar’s best player. Wajdi Sinen (four) supported him.

Qatar coach Borut Macek said his players gave their all.

“We knew Egypt would always be tough opponents. We had played three difficult games in five days and the players were tired. Still, they gave off their best. I congratulate Egypt on their deserved win,” said the Slovenian.

“This was our first appearance at an Arab Games final. We’ll now focus on the Asian Championship (to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from January 26 to February 4), which’ll act as a qualification event for the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain. We hope to do well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tunisia won the bronze, beating Saudi Arabia 23-21 in the play-off.

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