The South Asia Basketball Association (SABA) Championship is as important to the region as the World Cup and therefore winning it is of paramount importance, said Captain Mohamed Zilaal of the national team.
Members of the team are camped inside a hotel in capital city Malé as they train daily for the Championship, which will be held in the Maldives on the 19th of this month.
Zilaal said that his teammates are eagerly counting the days until they compete and their attitude while training show how much the Maldivian team wants to attain this year’s gold medal.
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal will compete in the SABA Championship.
Zilaal said the Indian national team is notably the strongest in the region, and that it would be difficult to compete against. However, Zilaal said that both he and his teammates are hopeful of their victory over the other three teams.
He further said that while Maldives had previously defeated the Indian team, this is ‘history’ and that the national team is working hard to ensure that they are at their best when they go against India.
Captain Zilaal said that the fact that Maldives is this year’s host nation serves to empower him.
Maldives had come second place last year, held in India, winning a silver medal.
SABA is a sub-zone of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).