23 September, 2015
03 October
Palestine (PLE)
to read

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas wishes basketball team luck

RAMALLAH (2015 FIBA Asia Championship) - Palestine's basketball team is in the clouds right now, not long removed from one of the most important weeks in its history.

Led by their superstar Sani Sakakini and coached by Jerry Steele, the Palestinians finished third at the WABA Championship in Amman, Jordan, to clinch a spot in the FIBA Asia Championship for the first time.

He [President Mahmoud Abbas] wished us luck and to prepare good for the upcoming tournaments. - Sakakini

As sporting achievements go, this is one of the biggest the country has ever known.

No one is doubting that after what has taken place this week, with Sakakini and his teammates being afforded the chance to meet the nation's president, Mahmoud Abbas.

"He said he appreciated our hard work to represent Palestine in a very honored way," Sakakini said in a text message to FIBA.com.

"He met us in the guest room of the Presidential office. It's a big honor because if the President gives his time to support sports, that means what we did is big and important."

Palestine beat Syria and Iraq and the WABA Championship and also played tough games against winners Lebanon and second-place Jordan.

Their opponents have been effusive with their praise.

"Palestine, I think they have the potential to get better," Jordan coach Rajko Toroman said to FIBA.com.

"They played good, especially Sani, probably the best player of the tournament.

"If they get Omar Krayem, who is playing in the Philippines, if they add him, they will be a very respectable team at the Asia Championship."

Lebanon's veteran guard Ali Mahmoud also congratulated Palestine in an interview with FIBA.com.

When asked about the competition at the WABA event, Mahmoud said: "I actually was impressed.

"Palestine got a lot better over the years..."

The competition is going to be stiffer at the FIBA Asia Championship that it was in Amman, but Palestine expect to have some reinforcements.

Their confidence will be soaring when they arrive in Changsha, China where the tournament is to be staged from 23 September-3 October.