Monday,18 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1327, (12 - 18 January 2017)
Monday,18 February, 2019
Issue 1327, (12 - 18 January 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Pharaohs’ net title

Egypt captured the 22nd Emirates Airlines Arab Championship after overcoming Morocco in a thrilling final, Abeer Anwar reports

Pharaohs’ net title
Pharaohs’ net title

Egyptian basketball fans felt the Arab Championship played at Cairo Stadium had slipped away after the Moroccans finished the first half of the final 48-29. But Egypt clawed their way back from the 19-point deficit to win 96-90. The Egyptians lost to the Moroccans early in the competition so were eager to make up for the defeat, especially in front of their fans who filled the indoor hall on a very cold night.

Both teams qualified to the finals after emerging victorious from their respective semi-final match. Morocco entered the final having not lost a match in the competition while the Egyptians lost only to Morocco. In the final, under the guidance of the Spanish head coach, Egypt chipped away at the daunting difference until it was only three behind entering the fourth quarter. Egypt controlled the match thereafter to the end.

Omar Tarek of Egypt was named best player in the championship while Morocco’s Sefian Cordu was voted top scorer.

Egypt qualified to the final after beating Bahrain 86-56. Morocco defeated Saudi Arabia 81-71 en route to the final.

In the third place playoff, Saudi Arabia defeated Bahrain 102-99.

“We know the level of responsibility on us in our last game. The game is important to us and is a big challenge,” Bahrain’s player Ahmed Hassan Al Derazi had said.

Bahrain had lost in the opening game against Egypt 68-74 before defeating the UAE 70-62.

On the victory, Magdi Abu Freikha, the Egyptian Basketball Federation president, said, “I am very happy with such an achievement as the national team got together only a few days before the event while our rivals the Moroccans were coming victorious from the African Championship. It also gives us a push before hosting the 2017 Basketball World Cup Under 19 on 12 March.” Egypt beat out Italy, Latvia and Israel after receiving the most votes to host the championship.

Abu Freikha said Egypt is the first country in Africa to host the FIBA youth event. “This is a great honour and we want to show the whole world that we are up to it.”

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