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12 Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem (QAT)

Yehia counting on good chemistry for Qatar this year

DOHA (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Ever since he first played for Qatar in the FIBA Asia U18 Championship 2014, Yehia Abdelhaleem has turned some heads and made his presence felt. He averaged a sublime double-double then, putting up 12.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game and forming a potent pairing with Mohamed Saad. Now, at 2.05m and only 20 years of age, Yehia is one of the brightest budding young stars of the Gulf powerhouse.

Yehia impressed in both the FIBA Asia Challenge and FIBA Asia Champions Cup last year, too. He was a capable back-up to Mohamed Yousef in the FIBA Asia Challenge and then played a major role for Al Rayyan in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. He proved himself a versatile scorer who could puncture the nets from inside and outside while also showing a lot of promise as a rebounder and interior enforcer.

There is no doubt Yehia's role for the Qataris will continue to get bigger in the foreseeable future, and his production will be key as they strive to regain their spot among Asia's elite this year. He believes that, for the Gulf champions to do that, they will need to improve a number of things, not least of which is team chemistry, especially with the team no longer having some seasoned veterans in their fold.

Yehia recently opened up to FIBA.com.

What are the preparations of the Qatar Basketball Federation for the national team this year?
We will be having preparations, two camps, from the beginning of July. We don't know the destination yet, but they will make sure it has a good atmosphere for the players physically and mentally.

What do you see are the biggest challenges for the Qatar team right now?
As a young team, we have a lot of challenges, and we will get over it. We need to build up the chemistry of the team and keep working hard.

You are one of the promising young players for Qatar. How do you feel about this and your role in the future for the national team?
As a promising player, my role is to help the team as much as I can and work harder everyday to have good accomplishments in the future.

It has been quite some time since Qatar have finished on the podium in FIBA Asia. What must the team do to return to the top?
I know that Qatar has been away for some time from the podium. That's because we are in the process of development, but we will do our best to come back on top.

Which player or players do you look forward to playing against the most?
I'm looking forward to compete against several players like Andray Blatche, Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills. Those are big names, and it's good for us as a young team to play against them.

How will Qatar adjust to having Australia and New Zealand in FIBA Asia and the New Competition System?
Having Australia and NewZealand in the competition makes it better and tougher. Also, we need to work on the adjustments while playing those teams. The new competition system is very helpful, so we can experience the Home and away atmosphere