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Qatar hope to do well at FIBA Asia Cup

Doha: The Qatar national team left for Beirut, Lebanon, on Sunday for FIBA Asia Cup which starts at Nouhad Nawfal Arena on Tuesday.

Qatar, who are with defending champions China, the Philippines and Iraq in Group B, start their campaign against their west Asian opponents on Wednesday.

“The boys are young, but they’re determined and spirited,” said Qatar coach Kusai Hatem, who guided Al Gharafa to Qatar and Emir Cup titles last season.

Qatar have a good mix of veterans and youth players. Five of them are 25 or younger, and the rest have considerable experience at the international level.

Hassan Mohammed, popularly known as Mizo Amin, seasoned campaigners Mansour El-Hadary, Erfan Ali Saeed and captain Mohammed Yousuf will hope to carry the team’s fortunes on their shoulders.

The 26-year-old Mizo has averaged double-figure score in every competition, and chances are that they he might be among the tournament's best scorers.

If Qatar play to their potential, they may even upset China, but Hatem’s boys will have to really work hard to stay in contention for a knock-out berth.

“The Asia Cup preparations started six weeks ago including the recent tour to China where we played against top teams USA, Iran and China. The experience will definitely boost our chances in the competition,” said Yousuf.

The Qatar Basketball Federation secretary Ali Al Malki also exuded confidence.

“We’re looking forward to tournament as it will be our last major competition before the World Cup qualifier in November in Doha,” he said.

Qatar will meet China on August 11 and the Philippines on August 20.

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