THERE were no wild celebrations this time. It looked as though things happening outside the court were of more importance to El Jaish than what was happening inside.
Jaish clinched their fourth Qatar League crown in seven years with one round to go following their 28-26 win against Al Gharafa. Though they lost 21-22 to Al Rayyan in their last match, it did not take any sheen off it in a season where they lived up to their top billing.
Right from the beginning of league in September, they were the overwhelming favourites to retain the title and they did it in style.
In the first phase, they lost only one match, to Al Wakrah, and the reversal against Rayyan last week was the only one in the second.
The triumph came a week after the decision to merge Jaish and Lekhwiya and relaunch as Duhail Sports Club from next season. The officials and players were candid while admitting that they had to live with it and just focus on the game.
“It was a great win for the club. We’ve won three titles in the last four years and that tells a lot about our consistency. Yes, a lot of talk is happening outside, but the players did a good job to remain focused on the job at hand,” said Jaish Sports Club General Secretary Khamis Al Kuwari.
Jaish, who made their Qatar League debut in 2008, won the first title in 2011 and have been a dominant force in the last couple of years. A majority of national team players are from Jaish and last year they completed a hat-trick of domestic titles, including the Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup.
Skipper Hassan Mabrouk said the onus was on the team to do an encore this time.
“Irrespective of what’s happening outside the court, the focus should be on winning matches and titles. The league is in our hands. The Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup triumphs should follow,” said the Qatar international.
With a team comprising players of calibre such as Zarko Markovic, Rafael Capote, Issam Tej, Hassan and Kamalaldin Mallash, the Armymen are undoubtedly the best in Qatar.
Team manager Mansour Al Sharshani lauded his players for their commitment.
“Consistency was the key to our success. Even when we missed many players due to their national commitments, the reserves chipped in admirably. Hopefully, we should win the Cup tournaments as well,” said Al Sharshani.