The eight best volleyball club teams in the world will be at the Aspire Zone in Doha, between November 3 – 8, to battle it out in the Men’s World Club Championship, one of the most highly anticipated events in the volleyball calendar. And with just three weeks to go until the first match, Al-Aarabi captain Said Salim says his squad are in top shape to take on the strongest sides the sport has to offer.
Club champions from Italy, Russia, Egypt, Poland, Iran, Puerto Rico and South America will all be vying for the title, which has returned to volleyball after a 17 year gap. Salim believes the key to victory is preparation and for the past three weeks, his players have been working on the techniques and tactics they will need to beat their first round opponents.
“There’s no doubt about our fitness and we have worked well together as a team. We know each other’s plays and strengths, but when you’re talking about the best club teams in the world, you have to raise your game. We have had three weeks of intensive training and we have three to go. We’re putting absolutely everything we have into this tournament. Every member of the squad is giving 120% commitment.”
“We have gained a lot of respect from international clubs for our performances over the years and now we have the chance to prove that we can rise to the challenge when the pressure’s really on. It’s going to be a great tournament and I think Qatar can be proud of us,” he said.
The Qatar Volleyball Association signed the contract to host the World Club Championships in June this year with the full support and backing of the Qatar National Olympic Committee.
The six day tournament will be held in the indoor hall that makes up part of the world class sporting facilities of Aspire Zone, host of the 2006 Asian Games.
The competition involves two groups of four teams who will play each other once. The top two will progress to the semi finals and the eventual champions will receive $250,000 out of the total prize money of $750,000.
Earlier this year, Al Arabi completed a sweep of Qatar’s major club titles, having won the Qatar Premier League, Heir Apparent’s Cup and the Emir’s Cup for the 18th time since the championship began in 1979.
But Al-Arabi coach Mohamed al-Bahri says the side will have to come through their toughest test so far if they are to have a chance of World Club Championship title.
“We have a great track record as a club and there is no reason why we shouldn’t give a good account of ourselves,” he said. “But if we are to challenge the best teams in the world, we will have to play our best ball so far. These clubs are the cream of volleyball talent. We have strong players, and I think Said Jumaa and Ibrahim Mohamed will have a big influence along with Said Sallim.”
“It’s a tough task, but we’re up to the challenge, and the great home support we we’ll get is almost like having an extra player on the court,” he added.
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