Qatar’s most committed and passionate volleyball player Saeed Juma al Hitmi formally ended his playing career after 29 long years at his home Al Arabi Club Indoor Hall on Sunday.
Saeed’s young son was also with him at the emotionally-charged function that the Qatar Volleyball Association had hosted to accord him a befitting farewell.
The 40-year-old setter, who won a huge number of championships and cups at both local and international levels for Qatar and Al Arabi Club, wore his No 18 shirt in the international friendly match.
The Qatar national team played against a team of professional players, who figured in the Emir Cup for various teams.
The match was stopped after a few points and the Youth and Sports Minister, His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al Ali led the ceremony to honour him. Al Arabi Club President Hitmi bin Ali al Hitma, QVA President Khalid Ali al Mawlawi and QVA Secretary-General Mohammed Ali al Mohannadi were also present on the occasion, along with various officials.
A goodly crowd of Al Arabi Club fans gathered to say good bye to Saeed, who had to quit the game due to persistent knee injury. Last year, he was a part of the Al Arabi team that won the Emir Cup against Police.
A year before Saeed figured in the last match for the national team during the GCC Championship in Doha.
While he was showered with gifts and cash prizes, Saeed said, “It is quite tough to be away from the action but you come to a point in the life when you’ve to take this hard decision.
“I always tried to give more than 100 percent whether I was playing for the club or the country. I’m really honoured to have served the game for so long.
“Also I’m really blessed with the love that my club officials and fans gave me.”
Saeed also hinted at joining the club in near future and using his experience to help it win more titles and honours. “Volleyball has given me a lot. If possible, I’ll love to do something for my club and try to return to the game whatever I can,” added Saeed in a choked voice.
Al Arabi Club Volleyball Team Manager Mohammed Jassim al Kuwari said, “I think Saeed is the best person and player I saw in my life in Qatar. He is very kind and a true leader.
“I feel we miss will miss this kind of player in Qatar. He played for 29 years for the club and national team. He helped win a lot of prestigious titles not only in Qatar but also in the GCC and Arab volleyball.
“I hope he will stay with us as a manager or something and we can benefit from his vast experience in future,” added Kuwari.
The players who contested for the international team included Juantorena Osmany, Cristian Savani, Nikolay Uchikov, Philip Maiyo, Saif Lemjid, Thiago da Silva and Eden Musabegovic.
The Qatar national team fielded Milos Stevanovic, Said Ibrahim, Juma Faraj, Mubarak Dahi Waleed, Ali Ishaq, Suleiman Saeed, Ali Hamid, Kennedy Chigbo, Mohamed Bishri, Joao Neto, Renan Ribeiro, Bilal Abu Nabout, M Abuwatfa.