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17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
6 Micheal Madanly (SYR)
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Madanly sees hard work as only way for Syria to survive tough Asia Cup Qualifiers group

DAMASCUS (Syria) - Syria have never qualified to consecutive FIBA Asia Cups since the early 2000s, back when they had a memorable run to 4th place in 2001. Now they just need to go through the Asia Cup Qualifiers to get back to the big stage after finishing 10th at the  Asia Cup 2017 in Lebanon. The luck of the draw landed them in Group E along with Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Micheal Madanly knows how the tough the level of competition can get in Asian competition, having served as the face of the national team for nearly two decades. He expects the same in Syria’s group for the Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“Syria is placed in very tough group,” the retired Madanly said. “Hard work is the only solution to survive.”

The 38-year-old knows a thing or two about “hard work”. It has helped him over the years to become a superstar scorer in national team competitions as well as landed him career opportunities all over the region.

Of course, building up a successful team doesn’t happen overnight.

“We need time to recover,” stressed Madanly. “Fans must be patient.”

Syrian basketball fans might not have to wait for long, as the national team has displayed great strides over the years. They were able to advance to the second round of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers with two big wins over India and will get a chance to prove themselves again at the Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Their first game will be when they host World Cup-bound Iran on February 20. Their toughest stretch will be in the second window, when they play on the road against both Qatar and Iran on November 27 and 30, respectively.

There will be a lot to look forward in Syrian basketball, including a chance to unearth new talents for the future.

“The local league is much better now and I’m sure that we will see some new faces in the national team,” Madanly said.

The leading scorer of the 2007 Asia Cup is not only optimistic for the future of basketball in Syria, but for basketball in the entire Asian region. It’s become a lot easier to follow the sport and how passionate players are about the game, which in turn will help rise the level of popularity for the game. It’s also helped that an introduction of new teams to the Asia Cup has assisted in raising the standard for everyone.

“Australia and New Zealand will make other federations work even more to develop their national teams,” Madanly said, who played for Syria in 2017, the first Asia Cup appearance for the Boomers and the Tall Blacks. “Those two countries are great additions to the FIBA Asia Cup.”

“Social media is also helping to spread basketball culture all over,” said Madanly, who has a combined followers count of nearly 10,000 on Instagram and Facebook.

“China, Japan, Jordan, the Philippines and Korea will represent Asia perfectly [at the World Cup]. Basketball in our continent is moving to another level.”