Defending champions Al Rayyan are aiming to win their first title of the season by retaining the Qatar Cup when they take on arch-rivals Al Arabi in the final at the Qatar Women’s Sports Committee Indoor Hall in the Aspire Zone today.
Rayyan coach Carlos Schwanke is very much aware of the tough task they have on their hands as emotions are sure to run high.
“We know it will be a tough final against Arabi. The emotions will be high as two powerhouse clubs are taking part, but I am confident that we are ready for the title fight,” Schwanke said while talking to the media yesterday.
Rayyan, who finished fourth in the Qatar Volleyball League, played three tough games in the last six days to qualify for the final and are raring to go.
“It’s a final and it’s always a special game. We all play for the title and for that you have to give something extra. We have played some really tough games in the recent past, but we have to be mentally ready and give our 100 percent for the final,” the Brazilian said.
Rayyan overcame Police 2-1 in the semifinal playoffs, while Arabi blanked El Jaish 2-0.
Schwanke is delighted with the way his team fought back and found solutions for their on-court problems during the three-game semifinal play-offs. “I’m very happy with the team’s comeback and victory to move into the final. I liked the spirit that my team showed. We had some problems and made some adjustments.
“The team has regained their touch during the play-offs against Police. We played like Al Rayyan play. Police are the league champions and were not an easy side. It was quite tough and now we’ll focus on another difficult match against Al Arabi,” said Schwanke.
Talking about the service problem they had during the semifinals, Schwanke said, “The service has only one point and sometimes you have to take risk to win bigger points. I am confident that we will have no such issues in the final.”
Rayyan came third in the recently concluded GCC Championship, while Arabi finished poor fifth.
Al Arabi coach Patrick Duflos is also keen to win his first title for the club.
“We are happy to be in the final. It is an important game and will be a difficult one. There will be some emotions on both the sides. We must be ready in our head to control the emotions to win it. I hope tomorrow will be a good day for us,” said Duflos, who was put in charge of the team midway through the league, in which they finished third.
Arabi started off their season well by winning the Super Cup by defeating Rayyan and QVA Cup with a win over El Jaish.Arabi’s pro players, Gyorgy Grozer of Germany and Taylor Sander of the United States, are also hoping to finish on top.
“It is very interesting to be in the final as finals are always something special. We have a very good team and hope to win tomorrow. I was here two years ago also… this is my second time in Qatar. The level of the game is very high in Qatar and I think it’s growing,” Grozer said.
“I am excited to be in the final. It will be a high-level game and I hope we are able to put up a good show tomorrow,” Sander said.
Al Rayyan and AL Arabi players and officials pose during their press conference yesterday.