Najma make strong start in Asian clubs handball
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain champions Al Najma enjoyed a winning start yesterday to their gold medal bid at the 24th Asian Men’s Club League Handball Championship, defeating Mes Kerman of Iran 31-25 at GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad, India.
The game was their first in Group B of the competition’s first round, where they will also face Al Kuwait of Kuwait and Al Wakra of Qatar. The Bahrainis enjoyed a 14-10 lead at the end of the first half and maintained their strong showing over the concluding 30 minutes.
In yesterday’s other Group B game, Kuwait outclassed Wakra 33-22. In Group A, Al Qadsia of Kuwait beat hosts T-Sports of India 37-24 while Al Arabi of Qatar defeated Al Noor of Saudi Arabia 29-24. Both games were played on Wednesday night on the tournament’s first day.
Today, Noor faces off with Qadsia while T-Sports play Arabi. In Najma’s win yesterday, Ali Eid finished as the Bahrainis’ top scorer with eight goals. Mahdi Saad added seven, while Bilal Askani and Fadhul Ahmed each scored four.
Mohammed Habib Naser and Oliver Nyokas had two goals apiece, while Mohammed Mirza, Bakary Diallo, Komail Mahfoodh, and Hasan Al Fardan finished with a goal each. Najma goalkeeper Mohammed Abdulhussain had eight saves in the game while Hamad Shamlan had four.
The Asian clubs league championship is scheduled to continue until June 30. Najma return to the court tomorrow when they take on Kuwait, and then play their final group game against Wakra on Monday.
The top two teams from both groups move on to the semi-finals on June 29, while the next two play in the consolation round for their final classification. The concluding placement fixtures as well as the bronze and gold medal games are scheduled to be played on June 30.
Najma have won the tournament title once in the past, in the 2017 edition which was also held in Hyderabad. They also claimed the silver medals in 2015 and the bronze in 2001. In the previous edition of the competition last year, Najma placed fourth after losing in the bronze medal game to Arabi by a single goal.
Aside from being an Asian championship, the competition also acts as a qualifying event for the International Handball Federation (IHF) Men’s Super Globe. Only the champions will book a ticket to the event, which is contested between champion clubs from continental confederations. Najma participated just once in the 2018 edition. This year’s Men’s Super Globe is scheduled for October in Saudi Arabia.