Nasser El-Doghisser is the oldest water polo player in the world. He has been playing water polo for 32 years. He retired last April following the 13th edition of the Water Polo Championship for the Arab Clubs Champions, which was celebrated at the Heliopolis Sporting Club (HSC), Egypt.
El-Doghisser played for the Saudi club Al-Qadisiyah, which won this championship. He chose to retire in Egypt following his club’s recent victory.
Daily News Egypt had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with the Saudi champion.
Why did you choose to retire last April?
I saw it as a good opportunity to retire after this championship, and Egypt was the perfect place for retirement.
You have two sons playing water polo, is that correct?
Yes, one is playing for the Saudi club of Al-Qadisiyah, and the other is a professional at a club in Barcelona.
Who were your strongest rivals in this championship?
Our strongest competitors were the Egyptian clubs of HSC, Gezira Sporting Club (GSC), and Al-Ahli Saudi Club.
What do you make of the other participants Moroccan club Wydad Al-Ouma and the Algerian club Entente Sportive de Sétif?
Their ability to acquire a high ranking was difficult.
Can you tell us more about the situation of water polo in Saudi Arabia?
Well, the advantages that water polo teams have in Saudi Arabia are that they compete in Arab championships as well as Asian ones, which improve the players’ performance.
We have good opportunities where we can compete. The problem is that in Saudi Arabia, turnover for the sport is low.
What other problems does the sport face?
The problem is that people prefer to play basketball, volleyball, and handball rather than water polo as the first three sports are more famous in Saudi Arabia and the region, bearing in mind that water polo requires more effort than these other sports.
What can you do to overcome this obstacle?
We try to attract children to play water polo. Once someone loves the sport and gets attached to it, he will be dedicated.
It is known that Eastern Europe is the region where the sport is most advanced, especially in Serbia, Hungary, and Montenegro. In this regard, what do you do for the sport to advance in Saudi Arabia?
To be realistic these countries are too advanced in the sport. So what we do is have the Saudi clubs compete between each other to improve the players’ performance.
Afterwards our aim is to compete with the Arab and neighbouring countries.
We organise championships, including the Asian Clubs Championship in 2009. The victory went for the Saudi club of Al-Ittihad. Our club of Al-Qadisiyah won second place.
In 2001, I also organised the first Arab Clubs Championship for Saudi Arabia to host. It was the first Arab water polo event for the clubs. Our club achieved third place.
I also organised the Water Polo Championship for Arab Clubs held in the Qatari capital of Doha, in 2013. HSC won gold, our club won silver, and bronze went to GSC.
A year after, in 2014, I organised the Arab Water Polo Super Cup. It was the first tournament of its kind to be held. It was celebrated in the Saudi city of Al-Dammam, where GSC won the first place. Second and third places went for Al-Qadisiyah and HSC respectively.
What other championships that you did not organise did Al-Qadisiyah win first?
In the Arab Clubs Championship, celebrated in 2011 in Kuwait, our club won gold. HSC won silver and the Arab Kuwaiti Club won bronze.