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Riyadi leave for Dubai to play int’l tournament

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 08,2014 - Last updated at Jan 08,2014

AMMAN — Jordan's Riyadi-Aramex left for Dubai on Wednesday to play at the 25th Dubai International Basketball Tournament against some of the best regional clubs.

The seven competing clubs in the
January 9-18 event will play a Round Robin tournament, following which the top four teams will advance to the second round where the top two face-off and third and fourth teams will play in the semis.

In addition to Jordan's Riyadi, UAE national team, UAE's Ahli Dubai, Libya's Naser and Ahli, Egypt's national team and the AND1 team from the US will compete in the event.

Missing this year are Lebanese teams Riyadi and Hikmeh (Sagesse), who have been banned for four years by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) over technicalities and political bickering between the two clubs.

In a phone interview with The Jordan Times prior to departure, Riyadi Secretary General Fadi Sabbah said the team was bent on making the best out of the tournament even though six front-line players were missing from Riyadi's line-up.

"The team has seven players from our U-19 line-up and they all need the necessary match experience," Sabbah said, explaining that even though many team stars were missing this season, the team fared well in last month's inaugural Abu Dhabi Championship.

Amer Seif, Faisal Kheir and Sany Sakakini are no longer in Jordan, and Isa Kamel retired, while Ali Zubi and Ahmad Duweiry were transferred.

"Not having import players playing the local league has made it more difficult to have a coherent line-up throughout the season, but players are working hard to be in top form," Sabbah added.

Aramex Dubai is the sponsor of the only Jordanian team at the event, which have boosted their line-up with naturalised player Rashim Wright, who was on the national team, as well as Jason McCoy and Dereck Rivera.

Riyadi first competed in Dubai in 1990. Jordan's Fastlink came in third in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Zain came in second in 2008 and 2009, and were eliminated from the quarters in 2010 when Applied Science University (ASU) also took part. No Jordanian teams took part in 2011.

In 2012, Riyadi won the exemplary team award, while Ali Jamal won best centre and import Alfa Bangura top scorer awards.

Last month, Riyadi-Aramex reached the quarters in the Abu Dhabi event, eventually losing to Tunisia's Club Africain 75-58. In matches deciding 5-8th places they lost to Bahrain's Muharraq 63-61.

In Round 1, Riyadi lost to Egypt's Ahli
81-69, Morocco's AS Sale 106-52, Muharraq 76-63. AS Sale beat Club Africain 72-66 to win the title.

Similarly, ASU, the country's Premier Basketball League champs, were eliminated from the Wasl Club Championship in Dubai after finishing third in their group.

The league is now under way, with ASU — who won the league for the third time last year — leading while runner-up Ittihad Schools and Riyadi are in a tight race for 2nd and 3rd place.

Riyadi-Aramex beat ASU to retain the 10th Jordan Basketball Cup last year. 

Tournament record

1999                       Dubai ports

2000                       Hikmeh (Lebanon)

2002                       Hikmeh (Lebanon)

2003                       Champville (Lebanon)

2004                       Champville (Lebanon)

2005                       Riyadi (Lebanon)

2006                       Riyadi (Lebanon)

2007                       Mahram (Iran)

2008                       Riyadi (Lebanon)

2009                       Riyadi (Lebanon)

2010                       Mahram (Iran)

2011                       Ittihad Sakandari (Egypt)

2012                       Anibal Zahle (Lebanon)

2013                       Riyadi (Lebanon)

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