Entering their first road game in the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, the Qatar Men’s National Basketball Team is already a battered squad.
Coming off a 43-95 home loss to Australia just three days ago, Qatar – who dropped to the bottom of Group F with a 2-5 slate – will enter their game against Gilas with six players out. The most notable absences are naturalized player Clinton Johnson, big man Erfan Ali Saeed, point guard Mansour Elhadary, and back up floor general Abdulrahman Saad.
“We got our core guys that we’ve had for the last, five or six weeks. So nothing’s really changed. They’re the same guys we played against Australia. Obviously, it’s been on-going all summer for us, we’ve had knee inuries, and various other things,” lamented Qatar head coach Tim Lewis.
“That makes it tough going when you got a group of young guys that aren’t experienced.”
With this, Qatar promoted some of its college stars to the national team. Moreover, a Qatari legend in Yasseen Musa was brought out of retirement to complete the team.
Musa, who is now 38 years old, has yet to play in the Qualifiers. His last national team stint was not even in a five-on-five setting, as he played for the Qatar’s 3×3 team.
Still, Musa and the rest of the squad will enter the game with a “next man up” mindset.
“We are a young team, have a lot of young guys, a lot of new players.
“We don’t know how the game is going to be, but we are ready to play and we’re just gonna see how the game will happen,” said Musa, who was part of Qatar’s team back in the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup.
Qatar cannot afford to lose this game, as it will send the country to the brink of elimination.
For his part, Musa shared that they will go all-out in hopes of stunning the home side.
“We’re missing a lot of players, six players to injuries and some other guys are tired.
“We got a lot of young players who want to take the opportunity and we’re gone be ready. We’ll see how the game is gonna go,” the veteran campaigner shared.