What is important is that the Lebanese national team achieved this achievement at a time when Lebanese basketball is going through its worst days. It is true that the competitors are not at a high level technically, and that Lebanon has always competed with the major players of the yellow continent, such as China and South Korea, but the reality of basketball in Lebanon today makes what has been achieved an achievement that should not be underestimated, but rather that it must be built upon in the very near future.
The Basketball League in Lebanon was suspended after the events of the seventeenth of October 2019, and specifically on the nineteenth of that month. Throughout this period, no local matches were played, while Lebanon participated in the Asian qualifiers. The national team played its first match during the qualifiers, with Iraq on February 21, 2020, while its last match was against India three days ago. Six matches he achieved during the full mark, and was fought by two players, most of whom had not participated in any training with their clubs for almost a year and a half.
The reality of basketball in Lebanon today makes what it achieves an achievement that should not be underestimated
The popular demonstrations, and after the security events and field developments, stopped the Lebanese Basketball League, then came the economic, monetary and banking crisis, and finally the Corona pandemic, to eliminate the remaining hope for the return of competitions.
The Lebanese Federation for the Game tried repeatedly to restart activity, but the crisis was great, especially for clubs that faced enormous financial hardship. Then the decision was taken to stop contracting with foreign players, due to the lack of US dollars, and then the clubs resorted to reducing the wages of their local players, but all this did not prevent the relaunch of the league. The first date for the start of the tournament was on November 15, 2020, then it was postponed to January 16, 2021, after which this date was extended to February 7, but the general closure due to the outbreak of the Corona virus made the new date for the start of the league on the fifth of next March.
The Lebanese players hope for the start of the tournament in order to return to the stadiums. Many have left basketball forever, including Charles Tabet, Daniel Fares and Elie Chamoun … However, the largest number want to return to the stadiums, even if with a much lower salary than they were previously paid. Wael Araji, Ali Haidar, Etter Majok and a few other players have managed to sign with clubs outside Lebanon, whether in the Gulf or North Africa, but the largest number of young players are training alone while waiting for the competition to return. They were the ones who led the national team to its latest achievement, with an average age of 24, although they only trained 4 days before traveling to Manama. The Lebanese player has reaffirmed that he is one of the best in Asia. It is not at all easy for players who have not participated in any match for a year and a half to lead a group in the Asian qualifiers without any defeat, and in front of teams that include players participating in their local championships with their clubs, and these teams also include a naturalized player.
The Lebanese Basketball Association confirmed that the date of March 5 is the final date for the start of the tournament, especially since the team is waiting for the Asian finals next summer, and therefore all players must be technically and physically prepared.
The national team arrived in Lebanon yesterday evening. Young players, and a Lebanese technical staff, including coach Joe Majaes and his assistant, Jad Al-Hajj. An important achievement for Lebanese basketball, and messages sent to everyone concerned, that Lebanese basketball should not die, and the Lebanese player should be protected as he is the basis of the game, and the future remains for the Lebanese players who must be taken care of, to return Lebanon to the Asian front. Lebanon, which defeated the continent’s top leaders, led by China, and also participated in the Orange World Cup in 2002-2006 and 2010, should not remain without basketball, just as its young players should not remain without training, so that they do not resort to leaving The closed stadiums, as did their colleagues, who after years of tender found themselves “unemployed” and thus unemployed.
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