Faisal Buressli, 49, is the Head Coach of Kuwait and even Director of Youth national teams. Faisal has been a legendary player in his country and not only: in 1980 he received offers of scholarships from many schools of the NCAA. In Kuwait and at international level in whole Gulf area leagues, Buressli wrote the history of basketball as an unguardable player. When he retired after playing professional 22 years, he decided immediately to begin his new career as a coach. In 2008/2009 he won the Gulf championships with the Kuwaity youth teams and he is building a great project for basketball in Kuwait.
Coach, tell us a little bit about you. We know you have been a great player in your country and you had the chance to play in the NCAA.
I started playing when I was eight years old. My first senior and professional team was Qadsiya. I became a starter in 1976 while I retired in 1998, it was a pretty long and successful career. I played 29 international tournaments as a player, I received the Most Valuable Player and leading scorer champion awards in Kuwait and in the Gulf leagues several times. I am also proud to be named twice as one of the best twelve players in Asia and I received six offers for scholarships from American colleges to play in the NCAA in 1980 but, unfortunately for family reasons, I kept playing in Kuwait. I am the only player from Kuwait that I could have played in the NCAA.
When did you decide to become a coach?
I started coaching when I retired as a player. I began teaching basketball to kids in the youth programs. I won the league championship and the cup in the first years coaching Al Arabi and, after those seuccess our Basketball Federation asked me to become the assistant coach for Kuwaity National teams. I kept coaching some clubs and I've been successful with Aljahra: we missed to win the title in the finals but I still remember that season. The Federation after these good results named me head coach of Kuwait youth national teams and they awarded me 2 times as best coach of the year in my country.
Most of Basketball Telegraph readers have never seen your team play. Could you tell us about your coaching style and phylosophies?
Like every coach has his own phylosophy, I have mine. I was a player so I understand the mentality of the ballers. I graduated in psycholagy so I think I'm good in managing the different personalities of each player and how to relate with youngsters. I really love to feel myself very close to the players psychologically, and sometimes you can say I'm behaving like an elder brother for them. About my basketball philosophy, I really like to change and experiement different styles, even during the same season. But uptempo basketball is my favourite, as well as switching defenses to surprise the opposing teams.
We are very interested to know more about the game in your leagues. How is basketball in the Gulf area, how many countries are involved and how is the league structured. Do you have american players or any import per team?
Basketball in Kuwait is ok but unfortunately we don't have many bigmen, tall guys. Our domestic players are pretty skilled, but you can find many guards and forwards, not true inside players. So teams need to sign import players, especially 5-men. Each team in Kuwait can sign two imports, the majority are Americans. The rules allow teams to let one player on the court though, so it means when one is in the other is out. Our domestic players are not professional, who knows maybe in the future we will develop a professional league: that is my hope. Regarding the countries of the region, in the Gulf area teams are from Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia. All the teams are very competitive and on the same level, maybe just the teams from Oman are a bit weaker. I want to tell you that one important event is the Gulf championship that it takes place every two years. The best two teams gain the right to play the Asian Camphionships.
Speaking of the next few years, what do you have for goals for the coming seasons as a coach?
I try to read as much as I can about basketball and I watch and attend lots of games. And I want to be updated about basketball news, being in touch with colleagues and trying to steal from legendary coaches. You can always learn and improve as a coach. I have many goals in my mind and I would like to make a big change in my future. Just I need time to make it. I hope my country can raise in basketball. Hopefully to make it as the head coach of the National teams and with the great help of the Kuwaity Basketball Federation. That's my dream.