After 23 years of a trophy-laden career, Qatar’s most famous basketball player, Yaseen Musa Ismail, was bid goodbye at the Ali Bin Hamad Bin Al Attiyah Arena on Friday.
It was indeed a fitting retirement ceremony for a player who brought glory and honour to Qatar through the game of hoops, winning over 60 titles for both club and country, the highest for any Qatari player. As part of the activities to mark the exit of the 36-year-old, 6-foot 8-inch player, the Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) had brought in the famous Globalport team from the Philippines for an exhibition match against Yaseen’s Al Rayyan Club. The match ended 84-73 in favour of the Qatari side.
The event was attended by QOC Secretary-General Dr Thani bin Abdulrahman al Kuwari, QBF President Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Thani, Al Rayyan Club President Sheikh Saoud bin Khalid al Thani, the Ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar HE Wilfredo C. Santos and other dignitaries. Earlier in the day, the Qatar U12 basketball team squared up against the PIBAQ U12, a team comprising of Filipino expats in Qatar. The game ended in a 5-5 draw. The Qatari side paraded Yaseen’s two sons Hamad and Abdullah, who displayed top-notch skills reminiscent of their father’s to the admiration of the massive crowd at the arena.
In one of the most moving moments of the night, Yaseen ceremoniously delivered the ball to his son Hamad as a gesture of handing over the baton to him to carry on the family’s legacy on the court. The act wowed the crowd who kept chanting his name fondly.”I am very grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to witness this day,” a visibly elated Yaseen said.
“I am really moved to see this huge crowd who turned out to celebrate me today. This is more than my expectation. I never knew I am this much loved. I am very grateful to everyone who has contributed to making me who I am today. I appreciate the basketball family in Qatar led by the QBF, my club Al Rayyan and of course my family, friends and associates.”
“Qatar has given me so much through basketball and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve both my club and country. I am leaving active playing but definitely not the sport. I will always continue to contribute to the development of the game in Qatar,” he said.
QBF President Sheikh Saoud said,”We are honoured to give Yaseen a befitting farewell. He has always been there for Qatar through thick and thin. He’s been a source of inspiration to the upcoming players. He has helped cement the legacy of Qatar as a great basketball-playing nation.”
“We are definitely going to miss him but we take solace from the fact that he is still here with us and his off-court contribution will still be there,” he said. Yaseen, who wore the No. 10 shirt, won a total of 46 titles for Al Rayyan Club and 16 for the country. His closing years for the national team were really inspiring as he switched to 3×3 format and helped Qatar bag the Asian championship as well as the world title in Russia in 2014.
As a mark of respect for the retiring legend, Al Rayyan has officially retired the No. 10 jersey. Source: Qatar Tribune