QATARI champions Al Rayyan touched down in Bahrain yesterday, ahead of the 32nd edition of the GCC Clubs Basketball Championship, which gets underway on Thursday.
Hosted by reigning Zain Bahrain Basketball League champions Al Hala at the Bahrain Basketball Association arena in Um Al Hassam, the tournament will feature teams from all six GCC states.
Scheduled from May 3 to 10, it will be held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
The clubs will put the final touches to their preparations in the coming days, before their opening round fixtures on Thursday evening.
That opening round pits Al Hala against Oman's Nizwa at 5pm, to be followed by the meeting of Muharraq and Saudi Arabian side Al Fath at 8pm.
Reigning champions Al Shabab of UAE had been scheduled to open the tournament with a clash against Al Rayyan on Thursday afternoon but, speaking to the GDN yesterday, organisers revealed that they have pulled out of the event completely.
While the reasons for the decision were not disclosed, it should bring increased confidence to the Muharraq side, who will now battle it out with only Nizwa and Al Rayyan in Group A.
Al Hala's Group B meanwhile, is completed by Al Fath, fellow Saudi representatives Al Ittihad and Al Wasl from the UAE.