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31 August, 2019
15 September
15 Zaid Abbas (JOR)
13/08/2019
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Jordan captain Zaid Abbas ready for World Cup return nearly a decade apart

PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - One of the highest honors for a basketball player is to have the opportunity to represent his country at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.  For some, making it to the World Cup just one time is a memory that can last a lifetime.

There are also another select group of players talented and fortunate enough to make it to the big stage more than once.  Among them is Jordan's Zaid Abbas who will be leading the Falcons to their second World Cup appearance.

"It's a big achievement for me as a player to be a part of the biggest basketball event in the world for a second time and can still play at the same level in 2010 coupled with more experience and confidence," Abbas says.

The 6ft 7in (2.01m) forward played in his first World Cup back in 2010, which was also Jordan's debut at the global competition. Then 26 years old, Abbas shined with 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

"I'm not going to lie, it was a lot of pressure," Abbas revealed. "It was our first time [playing there] and we could feel the whole world watching us at biggest event in basketball. But we kept our focus sharp and played our best."

Jordan never backed down no matter who they were going up against, losing to Australia and fifth-placed Argentina by one point and nine points, respectively. The experience allowed Abbas to go up against world-class stars like Milos Teodosic, Patty Mills, and Luis Scola. There's no need to say that it was a period of time that he will not easily forget.

"I felt honored to be part of [the World Cup] and got the chance to play against the best teams in world and against big name players in the sport of basketball," expressed Abbas.

Over the years, Abbas has become an international star in his own right. He's had many stints with clubs and leagues outside the country, most notably his six seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Across the span of nearly a decade since making his World Cup debut, Abbas gained valuable experience that has groomed him to be ready for a different role with Jordan this time around.

"In 2010, I was young and it was my first time playing at a high level," said Abbas. "Now I'm more experienced and have been playing internationally since then. This time I will help my team more as leader and the captain for Jordan."

 

"WE KNOW THIS TIME THE WORLD CUP IS DIFFERENT WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO QUALITY FOR OLYMPICS. WE WANT TO TRY AND MAKE THIS DREAM COME TRUE AS WELL."

 

Along with Abbas, the 2010 World Cup squad for Jordan included veterans like Rasheim Wright, Sam Daghles, Zaid Alkhas, and Ayman Idais. For the upcoming 2019 edition of the tournament, Abbas expects things to be somewhat different.

"The 2010 team was more experienced and we had played together for almost four years," Abbas said. "This team in 2019 will have more energy and more young players. I think it will bring something good to our games."

Jordan will need as much as they can get to compete, whether it is from their 35-year-old captain or any of the other expected younger World Cup debutantes. Nonetheless, fans can trust Abbas to give it his all because he knows what it means to play at this stage.

Don't expect anything less than maximum effort from him or his team in Jordan's second ever appearance at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

FIBA