BAHRAIN take on Saudi Arabia in their opening game of the 23rd Arab Men’s Basketball Championship, which gets underway today in Cairo.
Their match is set to take place tomorrow, and it is scheduled for an 8pm tip-off, Bahrain time.
The tournament schedule was confirmed last night during the official technical meeting held ahead of today’s start to the competition.
Only one game is scheduled for opening night, and it will be between hosts Egypt and Algeria.
Six teams were originally set to take part in the championship, but Morocco withdrew at the last minute. This was revealed at yesterday’s technical meeting. That leaves a line-up of five nations competing, including Bahrain, Saudi, Egypt, Algeria and the UAE.
Following a single round-robin for the opening phase of the tournament, the top four teams move on to the knockout semi-finals, with the first-placers playing the fourth-ranked side and team number two going against team number three.
The winners in the final four then move on to the championship game, which will take place on November 16.
Bahrain are competing in Cairo with a new-look national team. They arrived at the Egyptian capital yesterday and after checking in to their hotel, went directly to practice supervised by head coach Salman Ramadhan later in the day.
Nearly half the squad is made up of Bahrain’s up-and-coming young players who have all excelled at the youth and junior levels. Fielding Bahrain’s best youngsters at the senior men’s international level is part of the vision of Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA) President Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa.
Among the youngsters suiting up for Bahrain are Mustafa Hussain, Mozamel Ameer, Ahmed Khalifa and Sayed Mohammed Hameed. They are joining several of the national team’s mainstays, many of whom are also still young, including Ahmed Aziz, Maytham Jameel, Mohammed Kuwayed, Mohammed Ameer, Ahmed Hassan Al Derazi, Ali Shukrallah and Mohammed Buallay.
The national team has also gotten some much-needed reinforcement for the Arab championship with naturalised six-foot, nine-inch big man Wayne Chism, who will be manning the paint.
“This is a good opportunity to build a new team for the future,” Coach Ramadhan said.
“We have height, we have shooters, we have skills, we have a good basketball IQ, and we have strong leadership. We have a lot of things that we need to be successful; they only need to get experience, so we must inject them from now into the national team.”