Complete beginner's guide for WASL
BEIRUT (Lebanon) - There’s been a lot of hype around the FIBA West Asia Super League (WASL) ever since the competition was announced in August, followed by the draw of the teams in October.
Now, it’s time for tip-off as both the Gulf and West Asia commence action in their leagues in this upcoming week.
Before we get into that intense action, however, here’s a quick guide for all the basketball fans - whether in or out of the region - to know what to expect and get excited about.
What is FIBA WASL?
FIBA West Asia Super League or FIBA WASL is a pan-regional league for the top professional clubs from West Asia, Gulf, in addition to champions from South and Central Asia.
The competition will stage top clubs representing four out of the six Sub-Zones in the FIBA Asia Region. Multiple champion clubs and a total of eighteen clubs will compete on weekly-basis during the FIBA WASL Group Phase and the Final Eight.
What are FIBA WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf Leagues?
How many teams are playing in these leagues and who are they?
A total of sixteen teams are playing in FIBA WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf leagues with eight teams in each league. The teams in each league are:
WASL West Asia League:
WASL Gulf League:
How does the Group Phase work?
This inaugural season will progress in the Group Phase with all teams in the same group playing against each other twice in a home-and-away format. The groups in each league are:
Al-Ittihad Ahli (Syria)
Beirut Club (Lebanon)
Orthodox Amman (Jordan)
Al Naft (Iraq)
Al Riyadi (Lebanon)
Al Bashaer (Oman)
Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
Shabab Al Ahli - Dubai (UAE)
Al Manama (Bahrain)
Al Nasr Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
Al Sadd (Qatar)
Kuwait Club (Kuwait)
This accounts for a total of 48 games during the Group Phase in both leagues.
At the end of the group games, the first-place teams in each group will advance directly to the Semi-Finals. The second- and third-place teams will crossover to play in the Qualification to Semi-Finals match-ups.
Each bracket pairing will be played in a Best-of-Three series.
What is next for the champions of each WASL league?
The champions of both WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf leagues will qualify for the Final 8, while also owning the bragging rights as the best club of their respective region until the next season.
In addition to the champions of each league, the runners-up and the third-placed teams of each league will also qualify to play in WASL Final 8.
The six qualified teams from WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf leagues will be joined by the best teams from South and Central Asia Sub-Zones in the Final 8 to complete a field of 8 teams.
Teams reaching the final of the WASL Final 8 will book their place in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2023, on the road to the Intercontinental Cup, FIBA’s highest club competition.
When are the FIBA WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf league games played?
The first gameday of WASL Gulf league will be on 19 December 2022. The games will be between Al Bashaer and Shabab Al Ahli - Dubai in Oman and between Al Hilal and Kazma in Saudi Arabia. WASL Gulf league games will be played every Monday and Tuesday.
The first gameday of WASL West Asia league will be on 21 December 2022. The games will be between Alkaramah and Al Naft in Syria and between Al Riyadi and Gorgan in Lebanon. WASL West Asia league games will be played every Wednesday and Thursday.
The last gameday of the Group Phase is scheduled to be on 21 March 2023 for WASL Gulf league and 23 March 2023 for WASL West Asia league.
The Final Phase is expected to be played until May 2023 for both leagues.
Which players should the fans expect to see in FIBA WASL West Asia and WASL Gulf Leagues?
As these are the top clubs in each country, it only makes sense to expect seeing the top players of each country on the court as well.
In WASL West Asia League, it’s the likes of Lebanon’s Wael Arakji (Al Riyadi) and Ali Haidar (Beirut Club), Iran’s Arsalan Kazemi (ZobAhan) and Mohammad Jamshidi and Behnam Yakhchali (Gorgan), Iraq’s Karrar Hamzah (Al Naft), or Syria’s Abdulwahab Alhamwi (Al-Ittihad Ahli) and Omar Cheikh Ali (Alkaramah).
In WASL Gulf League, get ready to watch the stars of Saudi Arabia like Mohammed Alsuwailem (Al Hilal), Khalid Abdel Gabar (Al Hilal), and Musab Kadi (Al Nasr Riyadh) or Bahrain’s Mustafa Rashed (Al Manama) as well as Qatar’s Babacar Dieng (Al Sadd).