Birzeit Basketball Team demonstrates a strong presence in the Arab Basketball Championship and joins the ranks of the biggest teams

 Basim Abu Arra wrote:

"Where there is a well, there is a way"; superiority and excellence were clear from the beginning, combined with a will and determination by those in charge of the Club that came from lower ranks of basketball sport.  The Club lacks the minimum material and moral requirements necessary for any sports club or foundation.  It is a club that works in the corridors of a building full of the fragrance of ancient Birzeit city and the blessed olive tree which distinguishes this city with its establishment and importance goes back deep in history.
 It is a success story for a club that has been engraving its success story in the rocks since its inception and continued its giving and tireless efforts thanks to will, determination, harmony and understanding amongst few people who have been working together for the interest of their country before the interests of their club.  Financial issues, in spite of their extreme importance, did not hold back the efforts and progress of the club which were culminated by external participation in important regional and international basketball events and honoring their country, Palestine.  It was the first Palestinian club to make such an achievement and honor; to compete with the most powerful Arab clubs and stand as a strong contender. The team outperformed some of the teams and was respectfully hailed by everybody for their honorable effective participation which we will continue until better results are achieved.
Birzeit Club, the well-deserved Palestinian Basketball League Champion of 2014, set a positive example by participating in external basketball events within few years, overcoming all difficulties, from being a 4th grade club up to achieving the premier grade in an imaginary short time. This happened through winning all champion tournament in which it has participated, until it reached the coronation podium as a premier league champion, hence its honorable participation in Arab clubs championship for premier league champions and competed with Arab champions on equal bars.
Birzeit Basketball team managing director, Mahmoud Assaf, spoke extensively on this participation.  He has the right to praise  such success which was distinctive  at all levels, saying: "Our participation was not easy at all, especially under the hard financial conditions as we participated at our own expenses, without any financial support from any entity, even though we knocked many doors and even we were about to abandon the participation because of the financial shortage, until this problem was solved by the Moroccan Ambassador in Palestine, Mohamed Al-Hamzawi, who took on himself the arrangement of the financial issues in Morocco regarding accommodation and living expenses, which helped and encouraged us to participate, and gave us new motivation".
 Mr. Assaf appreciated the role of the Moroccan Ambassador, Hamzawi, for his unprecedented role in helping Birzeit club in this participation.  He also appreciated and thanked the National Beverage Company Coca-Cola/Cappy (NBC) for its sponsorship of the participation of the team in the Arab championship, and added: "This sponsorship by a national company came at a time when we were in the worst need for it.  NBC have always taken the initiative to sponsor and support distinctive Palestinian teams, therefore we extend all our thanks and apperception to NBC for their much needed national work.”
Mr. Assaf did not forget to praise the role played by the Palestinian Ambassador in Morocco, Ameen Abu Hasira, the political representative in the Palestinian Embassy, Ali al-Qabalawi and the Embassy staff who received the team, secured their requirements, arranged their visit and participation and accompanied the team all along the championship.
 The Palestinian Union had also a distinctive and big role in this participation through arrangement and coordination with the Arab Union and the Moroccan Union to overcome all the obstacles in the way of the Palestinian team to participate in this big basketball event.
Assaf stressed the role played by the Palestinian Basketball Union Chairman, Mr. Khader Diab, for his presence with and support to the team in Morocco. He also thanked the Moroccan Royal Association for Basketball for performing its obligations towards the Palestinian team, and provided complete transportation for the Palestinian team and mission.
About the level of the Palestinian team in the championship, Assaf confirmed the progress and advancement achieved at the technical and physical levels by the team and that it strongly played high level matches, and that was a strong contender for all participating clubs, even outperformed some. He added: "the benefits of such participation were a lot, especially in the technical sides and the experience of our players who benefited from it.  The general level of the champion was elevated in the light of having strong clubs at the Arab level and due to the distinctive foreign players who added more glory and splendor to and upraised the level of the championship.  
Assaf praised the role of the unparalleled coach, Mr. Emad Abu Daya, the technical manager of Birzeit team for his expertise and capacity that made the team a contender to well known teams on the Arab, Asian and African levels. He had a clear impact on the performance of the team. He also praised the distinctive role played by Sani Al Sakakini who was delegated by his team, Sareyyet Rahmallah, and played strong and splendid matches, he was a distinctive mark in the championship, and he played a central role in the championship especially in the 8 round. He also praised the distinction of Islam Abbas in the championship and his effective role in reaching to this achievement, in addition to Eissa Kamel and other team members who were like lions in the forest, starting from Janad Awad, Ahmed and Mustafa Yasser, passing by, Qahar Abu Dia, Ahmed Awadh-Allah, Mohamed Amer and reaching to Faris Dhamen, Foad Washha. Assaf did not forget the role of the two Argentineans De Gee and Demarqos who played with Birzeit team and were very distinctive stars.
On his part, Mr. Yousif Mosa, President of the Sports Committee explained the several difficulties that faced the team and club as having no particular building nor a playground, therefore the team is using the playground of Birzeit university for training, in return for a compensation paid by the team, what put further burdens to the budget of the club which is originally empty. Mosa further invited officials to positively act with this team who drilled the rocks for servicing sportsmen and was able to highly raise basketball on the local and Arab levels within few years; it is not possible or acceptable that the league Jawwal champion in 2014 has neither a building nor a playground.  
In the same context, Mr. Boutros Abed, President of the club, praised participation of Birzeit team in this Arab championship and its success in the first real test and first external participation.  The team honored Palestinian basketball in the best way, "the benefits of participation in Arab basketball Championship in Morocco, are multiple and huge in all technical aspect and in terms of communication with the Arab clubs, as we held several meetings with them for communication purposes and to explore means of benefiting from their basketball experience in order to achieve more progress. He praised the role of the team fans and supporters represented in the sponsorship by the National Beverage Company Coca-Cola/Cappy for Birzeit Team during its participation in the champion.  He thanked Jawwal Company for sponsoring the team in the general tournament.  He also praised the support Birzeit Municipality, represented by the mayor, Mr. Haseeb Keila, and its members, for their central and effective role in supporting the team and the club.  He also thanked all those who supported the team either individuals or local organizations until reaching the recent levels of development and progress in the basketball sport.
Abed addressed the affairs of the club saying: "we are going through financial difficulties, had it not been for the sponsorship of NBC, we could not have been able to participate in the championship. The club needs a building and a playground to service the club and its basketball teams and other teams and for the service of citizens of the city and the whole region. Abed declared that the municipality granted an area of 5 donums for the sake of club, what requires follow up with the supreme council for youth and sports, for the purpose of information, in order to adopt constructing a club building, playgrounds and halls especially in the light of having proper land plot. Abed praised the role of General/ Gabriel Al-Ragoub in such affairs: he will never prevent Birzeit from finding a hall especially after the municipality promised allocating a proper plot for the project.
In the context of participation in the Arab Championship, Abed added: "We honored the Royal Moroccan Basketball Association, the Mayor of Salé and the Palestinian Ambassador in Morocco, Mr. Ameen Abu Hasira in recognition for their support".
On his part, the media spokesman of the club, Jihad Hamdan, thanked all those who supported and reinforced the club and the basketball team in this participation held on the Arab level and especially mass media that followed the matches of the club in Morocco step by step. Hamdan praised the role of the supporters and sponsors of the team in its participation, such as NBC and the focal role played by the Moroccan ambassador in Palestine, his support and arranging the residency and living costs for the Palestinian mission, and for all who supported the team from the city, either individuals or national foundations. Hamdan demanded the responsible entities to support and reinforce the club and the team that became a distinctive mark in local and Arab basketball sport.
Qahar Abu Daya, a team member, described the participation saying:"the benefits are multiple and that it is wonderful to rub shoulders with such Arab well known basketball clubs that have notable impact in their countries. We could play with them peer to peer, and we excelled some of them, and we had the control over others in spite of our poor potentials and having no playground". He added:" we were able to beat the Yemeni team (Al-telal) easily and also the strong Kuwaiti team (Kazema) which was astonished by Birzeit team level, we won by 30 points difference, we played peer to peer match with the Moroccan Salé team, the hostess of the championship, in the first round. The purpose was to head the group, we could put the Moroccan hostess team (Salé) in a critical situation in 8th round and we played peer to peer match, the result was almost equal until the last 7 minutes, when Salé team ended the match for its interest.
Abu Daya requests all to keep the acquirements achieved by the team on the local and Arab levels, and to build on the successes that the team achieved, and not to consider them sufficient, as there are future merits on the local and international levels, we should concentrate on it from this moment in order to continue our progress and development in this field. This requires uniting the efforts of administration staff, coaches, players, audiences, municipality and sponsoring companies to keep those achievements and build on them. Abu Daya demanded from the basketball association and the Olympic committee to support the club of this basketball team especially after it proved trustworthiness on the playground, and after honoring Palestinian basketball team on the Arab level and making a private Palestinian basketball name.
Abu Daya ended his speech by describing the great interaction from the Moroccan audience during the championship, particularly towards the Palestinian mission and its team: they were continuously encouraging the team in all its matches, and they carried Palestinian and Moroccan flags, and acclaimed supporting the Palestinian right in it’s the land and its valid resistance to occupation.
Birzeit club participated in the Arab league championship in the Moroccan city of Salé two weeks ago, and honored Palestinian basketball in the best way and beat Yemeni (Al-telal) team and Kuwait (Kazema) team. It was beaten by the hosting team of Salé, and was qualified for the second round before losing again in front of the Moroccan team of Salé in the 8th round and left the championship with chins up.
It is noteworthy that the Palestinian mission of Birzeit team consisted of president of the club, Mr. Boutros Abed, as a mission president, with membership of his two deputies, Azmi Safi, and Jacob Hojair, the managing director, Mahmoud Assaf, in addition to the team members and the coach Mr. Motaz Abu Dia.
Finally, this is the success story of Birzeit Basketball Team in spite of lacking the financial and material capabilities, especially a sports hall, a basketball playground, or even a building.  The team is renting an old building in the old city of Birzeit.  Where there is will and determination, success has no.  That was Birzeit Club, the Palestinian basketball League Champion in 2014, the best Palestinian team that participated in this game so far.