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Al-Kuwait win maiden title at the Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions, seal Super Globe final spot

27 Aug. 2023

Al-Kuwait win maiden title at the Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions, seal Super Globe final spot

For the first time in history, a team from Kuwait clinched the title at Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions, after Al-Kuwait broke off an inconsistent display in the group phase, where they finished on the third place, to lift the trophy with a breath-taking performance in the final against Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek SC. Subsequently, Al-Kuwait also became the last qualified team for the 2023 IHF Men's Super Globe in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

10 teams from seven countries took place in the competition hosted by the Prince Sayef Sports City Hall in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, with Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia each having two teams in the 38th edition of the Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions, while Algeria, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen each boasting a single team.

The 10 sides were divided into two groups of five teams each, with a round-robin format, as the first four sides from each group progressed to the knock-out phase, with none of the teams making a clear run for the title, as neither of them managed to create a four-game winning run in the group phase.

In Group I, National Bank of Egypt SC were the first-placed team, with three wins and a single draw, 32:32, against Al-Kuwait, with Saudi side Mudhar, a former IHF Men’s Super Globe participant, finishing as runners-up, with six points, one behind the Egyptian side.

Al-Kuwait, which boasted once again the dynamic duo of backs of Frankis Marzo and Angel Hernandez, ended up on the third place, with five points, conceding a loss against Mudhar, 29:30, setting up a tough quarter-final against the second-placed team in Group II.

In Group II, Zamalek SC and hosts Al-Huda were the top two teams, with Zamalek finishing first thanks to their 28:24 win against Al-Huda, in a game where the Egyptian side bounced back only a day after their unexpected loss against Kuwaiti side Al-Arabi SC, 32:33, underlining some of their weaknesses.

Algerian side ES Aïn Touta and Al-Huda finished on the third and four places respectively, with four points each, as Yemeni team Al-Shula ended up on the last place, conceding four losses in the four matches they played.

With the quarter-finals set, National Bank of Egypt SC looked like a clear favourite to secure a place in the final, clearing the path to the largest win in this phase of the competition, 28:16, against Kuwaiti side Al-Arabi, which had no chance in the game.

Zamalek followed up with a 36:27 win against Iraqi side Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi SC, while Al-Kuwait enjoyed a clear 37:33 win against Al-Huda, as the fourth semi-finalist was Mudhar, after a 36:30 win against ES Aïn Touta.

The semi-finals were clearly very balanced, with a big prize on the line for the finalists, and it was Al-Kuwait which shined, with a 29:27 win over the National Bank of Egypt SC, with right wing Ali Saleh leading the way with nine goals.

Al-Kuwait had to wait until they saw their opponent, but it became apparent that they were going to face a strong challenge from Zamalek, the Egyptian powerhouse, which delivered a clear 29:24 win against Mudhar, looking like favourites to snatch the title.

But once again, Al-Kuwait had another opinion. Led by the top goal scorer of the  2021 IHF Men’s World Championship, back Frankis Marzo, who scored 13 goals in the final, Al-Kuwait wrote history, becoming the first team from the country which won the Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions, with a 31:30 win, after a strong comeback, after Zamalek led at half-time, 18:16.

Al-Kuwait’s centre back Saif Al-Adawany was named the MVP of the competition, with a strong performance overall throughout all the matches, helping his side clinch the first-ever title in the competition, after they had previously lost a final in 2012, 28:33, against Tunisian side Club Africain HB.

As the winners of the 38th Men’s Arab Handball Championship of Champions had a spot reserved for the 2023 IHF Men’s Super Globe, Al-Kuwait will now take part in the competition which will take place in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, after finishing on the ninth place in the previous edition.