Team Players

Team Info

With three players in the IHF Beach Handball Showcase on the fringes of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games next month – Mohsen Al Yafaei, Mohammed Zaky Hassan and Hani Kakhi – it is clear just where Qatar’s men sit on the global beach handball scene.

At IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship level their biggest success to date is a pair of bronze medals, gained in 2014 and 2016. They came close last time out, at Greece 2022, but were unlucky to come up against a super-motivated host nation in the quarter-final.

With the two sides taking a set each, it went to a shoot-out and in an epic encounter, Greece eventually won 15:14 after Abdulrazzaq Murad missed Qatar’s eighth shot leaving the home side to score the single point and qualify through.

However, there was still a goal to go for; fifth place and with it, qualification for the then upcoming ANOC World Beach Games. The Asian side saw off Norway, then China 2024 opponents Uruguay 2-0 to seal that spot, but would be disappointed eventually after the event in Bali was cancelled.

In between those dates though was the 2022 edition of The World Games, held in Birmingham, USA which saw Qatar beat Brazil on their way to silver after losing to perennial rivals Croatia in the final.

But 2023 was different and it was year which saw unparalleled success for the Qatari men with a continental and IHF Beach Handball Global Tour double.

On the island of Bali in Indonesia in March, Qatar beat Republic of Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Iran 2-0 in the preliminary stages before seeing off Vietnam in the semi-finals and then Oman in the final, both 2-0, to take the title with a perfect record and not losing a set.

"Even our youngest player had experience of at least one world championship and a World Games, so you can imagine how experienced our older players were. This meant that the coach could switch between players to ensure none became fatigued,” said Qatar's Mohamed Zaky to after the event.”

After playing on Stage 3 three of the 2023 IHF Beach Handball Global Tour in Poland, Qatar then hosted the tour finals at home in Doha where they stepped up a gear, winning the title in front of 1,500 passionate home fans in November by defeating Brazil via shoot-out in the final.

The Asian side won three of their four games across two days of finals action at the Al-Gharafa Beach Venue in what was an extremely competitive and tight men’s competition. Qatar saw off African champions Tunisia 2-0 and Brazil 2-0 before losing 1-2 (24:25, 28:22, SO 4:7) to Denmark.

Despite that loss, Qatar squeezed through to the final against the South Americans. After Brazil won the first set clearly (24:12), the Asian side powered back to win the second (26:22) and so it went to a shoot-out. Following four attempts each, the two sides were locked at 4:4, but a single Qatar point sealed the victory, and title.

This marked the first time the nation had won a gold medal in any global handball competition in either gender or in any age group.

It is hard to single out any key players for Qatar as the squad ply their professional trade at club level in general for indoor teams and with it, have a mixture of skills.

But what is not in doubt is that they have one of the tightest bonds of any team in global beach handball, having formed a unique togetherness on the sand, led by charismatic Egyptian coach Khaled Aly.

To prepare for China 2024, where they will again face Uruguay, as well as the USA and Germany, Qatar have been in Cadiz, Spain, playing friendly matches against Spain and Portugal.

“Our group is the hardest one between all four of the preliminary groups,” said Zaky to after the China 2024 draw. “Germany and the USA have always been trying to win the big games and they have earned their place in amongst the big teams.

"Uruguay is one of the oldest, most experienced teams in this sport, with a mix of youth too, so they have all the capabilities to reach a good place in China."

And for captain Al Yafaei, now is the time for Qatar to step up at a few spots on the world championship podium.

“Based on this success (winning the IHF Beach Handball Global Tour) we are well-placed to fight to win the biggest title – the IHF World Championship,” he said after the title in Qatar.

Could China 2024 be the one?

Coach: Khaled Aly

Key Players: Mohsen Al Yafaei, Mohammed Zaky Hassan, Hani Kakhi, Zarko Markovic

Qualification information: AHF Men’s Beach Handball Asian Championship – 1st

History in Tournament: 2004-2008: DNQ, 2010: 10th, 2012: 7th, 2014: 3rd, 2016: 3rd, 2018: 9th, 2022: 5th

Group at China 2024: Group D: Germany, Qatar, Uruguay, United States of America