Duhok earns fifth Iraqi basketball league title
Defeating Naft Al-Junub twice makes the Mountain Falcon team champions of Iraqi League for the fifth time
Dohuk Basketball Team was able to achieve a crucial victory over Naft Al-Junub 93-92 last Thursday evening in the opening match of the Premier Basketball League final by only one point's margin ahead.
Duhok repeated the victory in the second match which held on 13 April at the Shaab indoor Hall in Baghdad city, in front of many excited fans from both sets of teams.
Duhok mustered up a fantastic performance, winning the second match in the final contest by 86-64. Duhok controlled the game from the outset and kept up the pressure right up to the last minute.
To recognize the league champions, the Iraqi Basketball Association (IBA) put a new system in place. According to the new proposed criteria, the two teams that reach the final have to face each other twice. Duhok faced Naft Al-Junub two times. It ended both matches in its favor and earned the League Champions title for the fifth time in its history.
“I am really happy that we have won the title for the fifth time; this came after great efforts made by the players throughout the whole season as we have won on 16 occasions. There was a huge pressure on the players due to being punished by the Iraqi Federation, but we worked hard to restore the team spirit to the players and prepare them psychologi- cally. "This was not easy at all,” said Mustafa Thamer, Duhok Basketball Team coach.
Duhok was punished by the Iraqi Federation. It had to play its last two matches outside of its arena which made the team face difficulty overcoming its rival.
“I feel proud of being able to add another title to the club's achievements and I am happy with the development achieved in the performance level of basketball game in Iraq as there was fierce competition among most of the clubs in the Premier League this season.” Noted Thamer.
Meanwhile, Naft Al-Junub Team coach, Amir Talib, said: " Duhok was not an easy team at all; the team knew how to deal with its rivals".
“I congratulate Duhok for winning this season’s title. We were able to secure the second place which is not bad; hopefully, we'll do better in the future,” he concluded.
Duhok's basketball team was founded in 1972 and was ac- cepted in the Iraqi League as a fourth-grade team. In the 1980s, the team was promoted to the second-grade before moving up to the first-grade in the early 1990s. The team joined the Iraqi Premier League in 2001 and secured fourth place.
Duhok's reputation and strength grew in 2009 when it won the Iraqi Basketball Premier League title for the first time in its history. Duhok repeated their feat of 2009 by becoming the Iraqi champions in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
This picture depicts Duhok Basketball team. Club file photothe fifth time