Cherif Younousse, reunited with Ahmed Tijan after three years, is confident about leading Qatar’s No. beach volleyball 1 team from the front.
Younousse and Tijan last played together in the 2014 Doha Open, which was their only second event. And then Younousse paired up with Jefferson Santos Pereira, while Tijan played alongside four different players, mostly with Julio Cesar do Nascimento.
Under a new strategy by the Qatar Volleyball Association, the two pairs were split up and Younousse teamed up with Tijan and Jefferson to form a team with do Nascimento.
With three events under their belt, including a ninth-place finish in the four-star Dela Beach Open, both look to be shaping well and the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup, the first four-star event in the Middle East, could give the team a strong shot in the arm.
Younousse, who figured in two World Championships and one Olympic Games with Pereira and performed quite creditably, wants to thank his former senior partner for what he got to learn from him.
“I played a lot of events with Jeff and learnt a great deal. I will try to use that valuable experience while partnering with Ahmed now. It is a new team and there are new challenges.
“The big difference for me now is that I’ve to figure out what to do. Earlier Jeff used to do it. But now the bigger responsibility is on me to lead the team. There will be pressure on us but we’ve got to stick together and come through together.
“We’ve confidence in each other and can get good results. We know that it’ll not be easy to start working in high gears and delivering good finishes but we need to be patient to get set,” said Younousse.
In three events that the Qatari pair has played so far, they were winners in the Palembang AVC Beach Tour in November 2017, ninth in the Dela Beach Open in The Hague and 17th in the Kish Island Open. The last two events are on the FIVB Beach World Tour.
Talking about the Katara Cup, Younousse said, “It is a massive tournament with many of the top pairs in the world participating. A good result would certainly boost us. This is a good chance to assess us. Let us see how we can do in this important home tournament,” said Younousse.
On Monday, the American pairs played out the country quota. The qualifying rounds to get eight successful pairs will begin at the Katara Cultural Village Beach on Tuesday. The draw for the Main Round is also scheduled on the morrow.
Fourteen referees, including Ahmed Hussain of Qatar, will officiate in the four-star tournament with the assistance of 24 linesmen. The centre court has been prepared at the majestic Amphitheatre.