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Freddy Ibrahim expects his first World Cup Qualifiers to be ''very intense'' against hungry opponents
AMMAN (Jordan) - Freddy Ibrahim has tasted what it feels like to make it to the big dance. He was there on the court for Jordan in China for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
"I think now we have more chemistry than before and also I think each specific role is accepted and clear for every player."
He knows what it feels like to play at that level, to play against the World’s best. That why he knows how hungry the teams will be in the World Cup Qualifiers ahead, his first time playing at this stage.
"The experience will be good to play countries from the region that we might play in the Asia Cup," he said in anticipation of the upcoming Qualifiers.
"It will be very intense because many teams who didn’t qualify [last time] are going to try and make that happen now."
One of those teams looking to make it to the World Cup for the first time are Freddy and Jordan’s first opponents: Saudi Arabia. They’ll play each other for the first time on November 26 in Jordan before dueling in a rematch on November 29 in Saudi Arabia.
"Saudi Arabia is a good team, they have some key players that can change the game so we just have to focus on ourselves," Freddy said of his opponents.
Ibrahim talks from experience when he says Saudi Arabia has some key players that can change the game. Aside from the players having played against each other in friendly tournaments and professional leagues, Ibrahim is quite familiar with one of Saudi Arabia’s from his collegiate basketball playing days.
"Before choosing my university I visited the Canadian Final 8 tournament, where I saw Khalid [Abdel Gabar] play and I thought he was very smart and just a great all-around player."
"I think we are both similar. We can score but also like to share the ball so it will be a fun matchup as always."
Saudi Arabia are certainly a team to watch after grinding their way all the way from the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Pre-Qualifiers through to this stage.
Nonetheless, Jordan have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with so far, so - as Freddy emphasized - they just have to focus on themselves.
Jordan were spectacular through the Asia Cup Qualifiers, winning all of their games to land a spot at the Asia Cup and here at the World Cup Qualifiers. Ibrahim himself has been a star for the team with averages of 16.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game.
He’s been the key playmaker on a team filled with bright young talents in Amin Abu Hawwas, Ahmad Al Dwairi, and Sammy Bzai.
It’ll be a nightmare to know that Freddy feels they’ve only gotten better since.
"I think now we have more chemistry than before and also I think each specific role is accepted and clear for every player. We are still young and have more to prove."