Qatar bank on Cherif and Ahmed’s experience
The star beach volleyball duo will be the cynosure as the home team targets a podium finish.
Members of the Qatar beach volleyball team were put through their paces by Argentine coach Mariano Baracetti on the sandy courts of the Al Gharafa Sports Club on Tuesday ahead of the ANOC World Beach Games, starting on October 11.
The presence of Qatar’s star duo, Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, added an extra fillip to the practice session. While Cherif was at his best sending down his left-handed smashes, Ahmed cheered the team from the sidelines. Though a member of the six-man squad, Ahmed did not take the court for practice as he was nursing a knee injury.
Cherif and Ahmed, who have been regularly playing in the World Tour, had achieved their highest ranking (four) in the FIVB list (Beach Volleyball) in July this year. They are presently ranked 14th and will be the players the rest of the team are likely to rally around as the hosts look to make a podium finish.
Baracetti, who travels with the Qatari duo on the World Tour, agreed that their presence would benefit the team.
“One advantage of having Cherif and Ahmed is that they’ve played the World Tour and know the right tactics and strategies to be used. Also, some of the top players from other countries, who playing the World Tour, will not be here and that gives us an advantage,” said Baracetti.
The Argentinian coach admitted that the 4×4 format at the World Beach Games, would be new to many players, but he sounded confident of a good show by Qatar.
“It’s different from the indoor format, it’s not the regular 2×2. But we’ve been training for the past two weeks and given the fans’ support, we can do well,” he added.
Qatar is grouped with Germany, USA and Indonesia in Group A while Poland, Chile, Australia and Mozambique make up Group B.
“USA and Germany are tough teams, so the group matches will not be easy. But we’re optimistic,” said the coach.
Cherif was confident of winning a medal.
“There’s a strong chance. That’s our goal here. We’ve prepared well and we can put up a good fight against any opposing team,” said Cherif.