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6 Mohamed Kawaid (BRN)
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BBA President satisfied with Asia Cup Qualifiers Draw as Bahrain continues road to top of Asia

MANAMA (Bahrain) – Bahrain were among one of the 24 teams that participated in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers Draw that was completed this June 8. As the draw went on, Bahrain patiently waited to find out their group as a 4th seed placed in pot 8.

“The result of the draw was fair,” said Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA). “I believe that all groups are equally balanced, and that the draw was conducted in a well-organized manner that truly highlighted the importance of the tournament. The seeding of teams based on their NIKE World FIBA rankings was a just draw mechanism that allowed the teams to be split equally based on their performance.”

Bahrain were drawn into Group D along with Lebanon, Iraq, and India. Though they will be facing tough opponents, there is only optimism in the air moving forward.

“Bahrain’s group is no doubt a tough group,” the 24-year-old President admitted. “Lebanon, India, and Iraq are tough teams to face. They have experience in regional and international competitions that make them fierce opponents. However, we have no reason not to enter the Qualifiers with optimism and confidence that we can achieve the best possible outcome for Bahrain. We know that our team can compete with the best teams in Asia, and we will prepare for the Qualifiers really well.”

As the top seed of the group, Lebanon will surely be Bahrain’s most difficult case to crack. Nonetheless, as a team that aims to be the best in Asia, Bahrain can only benefit from the opportunity to host and play in Lebanon during these Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“Lebanon is no doubt a force to be reckon with in basketball in Asia, they have a history in regional and international competitions that few in this region have. Their failure to reach the FIBA World Cup was disappointing but, they still are one of the best teams in Asia. They have a young core of players that are talented and can be future stars of Asian basketball.” - he said.

“We are definitely excited to play against Lebanon in the Qualifiers,” added Shaikh Isa. “It would be a true test to see our players compete against one of the best teams in Asia and to prove ourselves in the competition. We played against Lebanon recently in the ‘Bahrain International Basketball Tournament’ in 2017 and our players benefited plenty out of this participation. We look forward to playing against our Lebanese friends and, may the best team win!”

Bahrain’s last appearance at the FIBA Asia Cup was back in 2013 and have been trying hard to get back ever since. With the efforts of the BBA to improve Bahrain basketball throughout the recent years, they are only a few steps away from getting back onto the scene.

“It has been a long time since our last participation in 2013,” he recalled. “We have taken many initiatives in developing our NT since then like hosting the first ever “Bahrain International Basketball Tournament” and participating in Arab Tournaments where in 2017 we achieved 3rd place. Plus, we had training camps for our NT in Europe where they participated in various tournaments and played against tough opponents. This was a key factor in Bahrain progressing to this stage of the Qualifiers.”

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شارك سمو الشيخ عيسى بن علي آل خليفة، رئيس الاتحاد البحريني لكرة السلة، باجتماع الجمعية العمومية للاتحاد الآسيوي، والذي تم افتتاحه اليوم السبت ويستمر لغاية غداً الأحد، بمدينة بنغالور بالهند، بمشاركة وحضور جميع الاتحادات الوطنية الأعضاء بالاتحاد القاري. وبدأ الاجتماع بكلمة من رئيس الاتحاد الآسيوي و كذلك ممثلي الاتحاد الدولي لكرة السلة، و تم تقديم تقرير عن برنامج و بطولات الاتحاد الآسيوي خلال عامي 2017 و2018 واشتمل العرض على العديد من الاحصائيات، وأيضاً تم استعراض استراتيجيات الاتحاد الآسيوي للفترة من العام الحالي 2019 لغاية عام 2023، وخلال تقديم هذه العروض تمت الإشادة بشكل واسع بالاتحاد البحريني لكرة السلة بقيادة سمو الشيخ عيسى بن علي والعمل الكبير والمميز الذي يقدمه سموه وكذلك اتحاد السلة والذي بات مُتابعاً من قِبل الاتحادات الآسيوية الأخرى والاتحاد الآسيوي لكرة السلة أيضاً، وكذلك تمت الإشادة باهتمام الاتحاد البحريني في البدء في تطبيق العديد من استراتيجيات الهامة في الإحصاء مثلاً وأيضاً فيما يتعلق بالعمل في المركز الاعلامي للاتحاد البحريني لكرة السلة، وأشاد الاتحاد الآسيوي بالحضور الكبير والمشاركة الفعالة في دورة المصورين المختصة بكرة السلة والتي كانت الأولى من نوعها على مستوى العالم وأقيمت في البحرين بتنظيم من الاتحاد البحريني لكرة السلة وبالتعاون مع الاتحاد الآسيوي وشهدت حضوراً كبيراً وتفاعلاً مميزين من المصورين والإعلاميين. ولم يُحدد الاتحاد الآسيوي حتى الآن مكان و تاريخ إقامة بطولة اسيا لمنتخبات الناشئين والتي سيشارك فيها منتخبنا الوطني بعد أن تأهل لها عبر البطولة الخليجية لمنتخبات الناشئين الصيف الماضي. وعلى هامش الكونغرس الآسيوي التقى سمو الشيخ عيسى بن علي مع العديد من الشخصيات الهامة وفي طليعتها الأمين العام للاتحاد الدولي لكرة السلة السيد اندرياس زاكليش، ودارت بينهما بعض الأحاديث الجانبية فيما يتعلق بلعبة كرة السلة، وأيضاً التقى سموه بالعديد من رؤساء الاتحادات الآسيوية والقائمين على لعبة كرة السلة في القارة. وستتواصل اجتماعات الكونغرس الآسيوي غداً الأحد أيضاً وستتم فيه مناقشة العديد من الأمور الهامة ومن أبرز ماسيدور اليوم إجراء انتخابات مجلس إدارة الاتحاد الآسيوي للدورة الانتخابية الجديدة الممتدة من 2019 حتى 2023.

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Bahrain has high aspirations for their basketball program. They have aimed to be among the stars of Asia and now is the time to put in the final touches to prove that they belong there.

“It is extremely important for Bahrain’s National Team to qualify to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, as we have a goal and vision to be one of the top teams in Asia in the near future,” concluded Shaikh Isa. “It is a chance for us to test ourselves with the best teams in Asia, and prove that we can match up against tougher opponents in the region.”