A motivated UAE men’s team is ready to make history when they take on Italy in their opening Group A game of the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships – Dubai 2022 at the World Trade Centre halls in Dubai on Friday.
While it will be the first time the home team will participate in a World Championships, it will be a dream come true for most of the players to play alongside the top teams of the world.
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As a hosts, these will be also the first time UAE will host a Wheelchair Basketball World Championships becoming the first Arab and West Asian country to do so.
With a new coach on their side, Abbas Aghakoucheki, who has been an important figure in Iran’s success in men’s wheelchair basketball in Asia, the UAE team looked stronger than ever before and is ready for the big challenge.
Aghakoucheki said the team’s confidence and spirit is building up in the ongoing training session.
“The participation in the recent events in Thailand, Kuwait and training in Turkey was a good preparation for the team. The World Championships are one of the short-term plans for me since I joined them in July 2022. We have also brought in some younger players like 19-year-old Mansour (Mohamed Alnaqbi) to have more speed and enthusiasm in the side,” said the coach, who has been the head coach of Iran in two Paralympic Games.
The coach also pointed out that the UAE side have many experienced players which will be at their advantage.
UAE are currently placed second among Gulf countries and have a bronze medal at the Bahrain 2022 West Asia Para Games. At last month’s Arab Championships, UAE finished in fourth place with Egypt taking the first place.
The team were also in a 10-day training in Turkey and have finetuned their skills for the Championships.