All Qatari-affair as Al Shamal, Al Gharafa set to clash in Arab Handball Super Cup tonight
The 3rd Arab Handball Super Cup will be an all-Qatari affair, with a Qatari team bound to win the tournament for the second time in three years, as Al Gharafa and Al Shamal are set to meet tonight (Tuesday) at Duhail Sports Hall.
The annual one-off match, which pitches the winner of the Arab Handball Championship of Champions against champions of the Arab Handball Championship of Winners' Cup, could not be held last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Al Arabi won the inaugural edition in 2018 after defeating Tunisia's CS Sakiet Ezzit 30-24 in the final.
Al Gharafa is featuring in this year's edition as the champions of the 35th Arab Handball Championship of Champions, which took place in the Jordanian capital, Amman in 2019. Al Gharafa defeated Algeria's GS Petroliers 36-32 in the final.
Meanwhile, Al Shamal are champions of the 15th Arab Handball Championship for Cup winners after defeating another Qatari club, Al Arabi, 33-31 in the final of the tournament held in Béni Khiar, Tunisia last year.
Al Gharafa is participating in the tournament for the second successive time. They were edged 26-24 by Esperance ST - Tunisia at the second edition of the tournament held in Amman, Jordan, in 2019.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Al Gharafa coach Shawky Balqasem confirmed his team's readiness to meet Al-Shamal in the match. "We are participating in this tournament for the second successive time, and we hope that our experience will count this time around. We hope to do better than the last time and win."
Meanwhile, the squad has been further strengthened with the new signings of national team player Rafael Capote from Al Duhail and Mustafa Alsalti Alkarad from Al Arabi.
For his part, Amr Jalal, coach of Al Shamal, said that his team would be ready for the Arab Super match against Al Gharafa, adding that he fancy his team's chances.
"Since I took charge of the team, I've worked to improve the chemistry between the players on the court. I'm also well aware of Al Gharafa's abilities. I've great respect for them as a team, but I'm confident of securing victory in the end," he added.
Three new players have been added to the Al Shamal team, with Salim Hedaoui and Mustapha Hadj Sadok joining from Al Wakrah, while the second goalkeeper of the Qatar national team Rashid Yousef signed up for Al Shamal from Al Arabi.
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