19 December, 2022
25 May, 2023
7 Nadim Issa (SYR)
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Nadim Issa is confident of the chances of 'The Red Castle' in WASL

BEIRUT (Lebanon) - Nasim Issa is a leader. That was all clear from how he had helped spark the Syria national team to their inspirational win over Kazakhstan in the recent Asia Cup - their only win of the competition.

"I believe that WASL will improve the mindsets of the players by experiencing away games getting to see different fans."


Now, the 32-year-old is back to lead once again as he and his professional club, Al Ittihad, are set to venture into the inaugural WASL West Asia season.

Al Ittihad were drawn into Group A, setting them up against Beirut Club from Lebanon, Orthodox Ramallah from Palestine, and ZobAhan from Iran. Certainly a tough lineup of competition for Issa and co., but they are loaded with confidence heading into their upcoming games.

"I think we have a good chance in this group because we are the champions of Syria," claimed Issa. "We will go and show that character and translate the hard work we do in the practice every day in the WASL games."

This inaugural season will progress in the Group Stage with all teams in the same group playing against each other in a home-and-away format. At the end of the Group Stage, 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.

If the other teams in the group are unaware of the threat that is "The Red Castle", they will learn soon enough. Al Ittihad are one of the most storied clubs in Syria, being founded all the way back in 1951 and having won 20 local league titles since. Though they've only won three titles since 2000, that their most recent championship was claimed last year in a hard-fought series against Alkaramah (who are in Group B of WASL West Asia). They will not (and should not) be taken lightly, especially when the opposing teams travel to play in their home court in Aleppo.

Aside from getting the chance to prove their might against the other top teams in West Asia, Issa sees the opportunity of playing in WASL as an opportunity to grow and improve. The 1.85M (6'1") shooting guard should know well as he is a player who has clearly seen the benefit of playing against international competition at a high level - albeit with the national team.

Issa has only gotten better since his national team debut in the World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, now solidifying his spot as a key piece in the current squads.

He is looking forward to improve in a similar sense along with his team and teammates in these WASL West Asia games.

"One of the best way to improve is by absorbing the knowledge. As we play outside of the country, we will have great chance to absorb that knowledge of basketball by playing tough games against the best teams in the region."

However, all of this is not a given. No matter how confident Issa is and whatever benefits he knows the competition can give to a player, it's all up to whether they are ready for it.

"It's all about the mindset, we practice hard every day individually and in team practice," he said. "I believe that WASL will improve the mindsets of the players by experiencing away games getting to see different fans, but in the end it's all about being able to mirror what we do in practice into the games even whether you are playing home or away."