Nizwa are champions for 15th time
The domination of Nizwa hoopsters in the domestic league reached a new high on Tuesday night as the club clinched a record 15th title with an emphatic win over Seeb on the concluding day of the 2019-20 Oman Basketball Association (OBA) League at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC).
Coached by experienced Bosnian Muris Memic, the club stayed unbeaten in the five-team league and ended in style with a 60-46 victory over Seeb.
Seeb, which last won the title in 2018, was no match to their rivals, who retained the crown in a similar manner like last year. On the concluding day of the last edition in March 2019, Nizwa had defeated Seeb 75-62 to regain glory.
Captained by Qasim al Qusaimi, Nizwa rode on the excellent display from their American import Brian Alexander, who also emerged as the highest scorer of the league.
The 26 year old Alexander was in rampant form during the final day's action and led Nizwa to a convincing victory. Besides the finalists, the other teams in the league which was played over three rounds, were Ahli-Sidab, Quriyat and Dhofar.
Having won the previous rounds against all their rivals, Nizwa was already assured of the title ahead of the final game against Seeb. Seeb finished runner-up and Ahli-Sidab took the third spot.
Coach Memic, who has vast experience in the region, had earlier tasted success with Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad and also with Oman's Seeb.
His latest triumph underscores his winning abilities in the region, with Nizwa roping the former Bosnia and Herzegovina assistant coach only last year.
Also instrumental in Nizwa's latest success is their team manager and former coach Mohammed al Qusaimi. Qusaimi, who has been
associated with the club since 1999, first as player and then coach and now as manager, said, “Our players have been in good form throughout this season. We are now eyeing a domestic double.
“We have qualified to the final round of the three-team Ministry's Shield Championship, starting this Friday. We are confident that we could continue our winning rhythm and regain the Ministry's Shield that we lost to Ahli-Sidab last year.”
This year will be the tenth edition of the Ministry's Shield with Nizwa having the honour of winning it five times, the last of which was in 2017.
In the single-round Ministry's Shield, Nizwa will take on Ahli-Sidab and Seeb for the top honours.
Nizwa has been the dominating force in the OBA League since the start of 2000. The club's maiden title came in 2001 and the latest crown, the 15th, is a testimony to the club being a basketball powerhouse in the sultanate.
Al Ahli (later merged with Sidab to form Ahli-Sidab in 2004) was the club that ruled in the early years of the league, which began in 1984, winning eight titles till 1998.
Later on Tuesday night, the trophy was awarded to Nizwa captain Qasim al Qusaimi by the chief guest, Sheikh Saif al Hosni, the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) vice-chairman, in the presence of Fareed al Zadjali, the OBA chairman, Khalfan al Naabi, Nizwa Club chief, Asad al Hasani, the OBA general secretary and other sports officials. Hosni also presented the individual awards to the players.
Individual awards: Best point guard: Osama al Riyami (Nizwa), best centre: Hasan al Faraji (Ahli-Sidab), highest three-pointers: Nooh al Amri (Seeb).