Follow FIBA on Facebook

17 February, 2020
20 June, 2021
5 Wael Jlilaty (SYR)
to read

Wael Jlilaty ''can't wait any longer'' to play in intense upcoming window of Asia Cup Qualifiers

DAMASCUS (Syria) - The remaining games will be a couple of nail-biters for Syria. They currently sit a second place in Group E with a 2-2 record, though all positions in the standings can go through some drastic changes depending on the results in the final games.

One of the most important players for Syria to help get them through this stretch and qualify for the Asia Cup 2021 is Wael Jlilaty.

“Personally, I cannot wait any longer for the third window of Qualifiers to start.”


The 31-year-old’s significance and importance is evident in the numbers. He’s led the team in minutes played through the Qualifiers and only one of two players to average more than 30 minutes per game. He’s second in scoring on the team (10.3 points per game) and grabs 5.0 rebounds per contest.

"Our qualifying campaign was very successful and we started this journey with a very important victory over Saudi Arabia in Saudi Arabia," said Jlilaty. "Now we have to repeat what we did in the first window in order to not get into the problem of digital accounts in the last game-day."

A win by Syria over Saudi Arabia in their first of the upcoming games would give them a much needed tie-breaking advantage should it come down to that at the end.

Jlilaty has been preset in every game for Syria through this qualification phase. Now with only 2 more games left, what they need to do is sharpen the edges and play their best.

"We must enter with great confidence, especially after the historic victory over the strong Iran team, and we must avoid the mistakes that were made in the game against Qatar when we repeatedly lost the ball in the last few minutes that cost us the loss of the game," Jlilaty said.

As the Qualifiers have progressed to these final few games, the increased intensity has only heightened the level of competition among each teams. Syria and Jlilaty are aiming to be among the top teams to qualify for the Asia Cup this year as he knows how heated it can get.

"The level of the teams is very high and at a remarkably advanced professional level, and we, as the Syria national team, strive to be among the top teams… "

Jlilaty also switched in to "Fan" mode and made his predictions for teams that will qualify directly to Asia Cup 2021 from this window.

"I think Syria and Iran will qualify in Group E."

"And Kazakhstan and Jordan in Group F."

"Lebanon's strong national team and the highly developed Bahraini team are already qualified from Group D."

"Australia and New Zealand, the two candidates strongly qualified for the title in Group C."

"I think that the conflict will be most intense between the teams of Chinese Raipei, Japan and China to qualify from Group B."

"The Philippines and Korea have the best chances to qualify from Group A."

"In general, the qualifying campaign is very busy and all the teams are presenting a high level befitting the reputation of the competition."

It is at this stage, with the best of the best showing off their styles of basketball, that Syria will be able to put on display their proud identity on the court.

"The characteristics and identity of Syria basketball began to become clearer at the continental level."

"The region has gotten to know more about the level of the Syrian players and the mentality of the Syrian players, which begins with maturity and flamboyance."

Jlilaty is a good example of that unique brand of "Syrian basketball" style as fans have seen him play through the years in the Asia Cup. Even though basketball was not his "first love" as a sport, it’s gradually evolved into his "everything" nonetheless.

"Everything beautiful starts with a coincidence and this happened when I started basketball," he said, tracing his steps back to the start. "I used to play football at the age of twelve until the time of the radical transformation and the beginning of drawing my professional path and my entry into the world of basketball that I do not wish it will never end. Basketball gave me a lot and I’m very grateful for this game."

"Basketball has become a way of life. The daily routine for me is all centered around sports in general and basketball in particular. The number of emotions that you have when you are on the field that no one can understand except those who actually lived it, especially when you represent the national team."

"Personally, I cannot wait any longer for the third window of Qualifiers to start. Everyone is hungry to play strong basketball in [the Asia Cup], and I do not think this feeling will ever end."