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10 Yasseen  MUSA (Qatar); 6 Zaid ABBAS (Jordan)
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Qatari legend Yasin Ismail shares thoughts on Qualifiers grouping and all-time Asian starting 5

DOHA (Qatar) – Yasin Ismail is a legend in the Qatari basketball scene, having led the national team to their first ever FIBA World Cup in 2006. With 6 Asia Cup appearances on his belt, two 3rd place finishes, and a career average of 14.1 points per game,  it can’t be denied how much impact he had in leading Qatar to be among the top basketball nations in Asia.

Now, as the executive director Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) and the head of the 3x3 committee, he’s watching Qatar basketball develop from outside of the hardwood instead of playing on it. Though currently Qatar are a step behind how they were in Ismail’s hay day, he still expects them to rise once again soon.

“Qatari basketball is changing blood nowadays, it will take two or three years to get back on track,” Ismail said. “We have great talent but we need to keep working on them.”

“Our youth program is progressing really well. We will keep trying our best to have a better future for Qatari basketball.”

With the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers coming up, Qatar will need to have all of their great talents working and developing together to get through. As a result of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers Draw held in Bengalruru, India earlier in June, Qatar were placed in the same group with Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

“The Asia Cup qualifiers will be tough to all teams in Group E,” said Ismail. “No easy matches at all.”

The former star forward of Qatar should now how tough it is to go against these opponents after having gone up against some of the best back in his prime. There’s even an opportunity that Qatar will be facing a player who Ismail considers to be in his personal Asian All-Time starting line-up: Hamed Haddadi of Iran.

Other players on Ismail’s “dream team” included Jordan’s Sam Daghlas, Lebanon’s Fadi El Khatib, China’s Yi Jian Lian, and former teammate Khaled Suleiman.

(Ismail vs Sam Daghlas, FIBA Asia Cup 2009)

One of Qatar’s current players has also intrigued Ismail for his potential. Who knows? Maybe one day, this player will be able to crack into Ismail’s Asian All-Time starting line-up in future revisions.

“Abdulrahman Saad has big abilities and he can play in Europe if he gets the right chance,” Ismail said. The Qatari legend also named 21-year-olds Nedim Muslic and Mustafa Fouda as players with high potential, both of whom played for Qatar at the World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

(Abdulrahman Saad)

It's clear that Ismail sees a bright future for Qatari basketball and he's hoping it all works out as Qatar rises back to the top of Asia once again.