TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): Mansour Atif El Hadary is like oasis for more reasons than one. For starters, he’s the only player who’s not more than 187 cms in a sea of giants in the Qatari line-up at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup here. El Hadary is also one of the two players who are born in or after 1990 – Mohamed Hassan Mohamed being the other. But the most striking aspect of the El Hadary’s first two games in FIBA Asia competitions has been his approach that borders on being perky and his attitude that relies more on speed and craft than size and strength.
“Do I have any other choice than to use speed and be quick in a team like this?” he quipped during a conversation with this website after pulling down 6 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists and effecting 2 steals in Qatar’s opening win against India on Saturday.
“Well. Of course I would have liked to score more, but then what matters to me is whatever little I do should contribute to the overall interest of the team. We did have a good game yesterday, but there were moments where I erred. Thankfully, today was a lot better for me personally. And I am happy the team won,” he said.
El Hadary plays in a team that comprises of players almost all of whom he idolized right from when he played his first dribble.
“It’s an honor to play in this team,” the Al Arabi point guard gushed.
“These are players I have watched with awe from when I was a small boy. To play in the same team as them is a dream come true for me. It’s indeed a privilege to play alongside players whom I’ve idolized from childhood,” he added.
“Having said that, I am here to learn from all their experience and try and match their efforts. I don’t want to count my chickens yet, but I think I am moving in the right direction.”
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia
Photo: Milad Payami / FIBA Asia