Basketball teams lose first post-pandemic games

The AUS men's basketball team (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Zahra Rashid

DUBAI – Both the American University of Sharjah women’s and men’s basketball teams lost their first away games since the COVID-19 pandemic against American University of Dubai on Feb. 14. 

AUS Senior Sports Advisor Solomon Aruparayil said the teams played on the AUD campus basketball courts at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. respectively. 

Aruparayil explained that the teams had only trained for two weeks when they got the opportunity to play a friendly match against AUD. 

“They [the AUD teams] are the best teams in the UAE,” he said, adding that they include “seven to eight” athletic scholarship recipients.

Considering this, as well as how both AUS teams have new players on many different levels, he said that they had done a great job.

Yara Abrash, the captain of the women’s basketball team, echoed this, adding that she was very proud of her players’ performance. 

“I still see this match as a win because we learnt what we need to fix to be better,” she said. 

Aruparayil added that the AUS players “had good chemistry and played a very hard defense, including man-to-man and zone defending.”

He explained that they all had the potential for shooting and driving, especially Mohamed Malik Cisse and Mahmoud Sawan in the men’s team, who solved most of the problems faced in offensive play. 

“Since it was a friendly match, the intensity was not as high,” Abrash said.

However, she highlighted that the AUS team was excited to see how they would play against the best in the country and they received encouraging feedback from the opposing team afterwards. 

When asked about being able to play away games again because of the return to full-scale classes and activities at AUS, Aruparayil said it was a great feeling.

“We could again hear the pep-talks of coaches, the courts with players, strategies and tactics being discussed, and the pride of players during the distribution of uniforms and numbers,” he said.