Category Archives: Sports

Lebanese Goalkeeper Hassan Bittar Suspected Of Match-Fixing by FIFA

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match

The football game between Al-Ahed Beirut and Altyn Astyn from Turkmenistan was flagged as a “suspicious match” in FIFA’s anti-corruption system and Al Ahed’s goalkeeper is suspected of match-fixing following his horrendous goalkeeping mistake.

If you look closely at the video, you will understand why. The goalkeeper seems to be looking away when the ball came to him and even if he didn’t do that on purpose, he could have easily reached the ball before it went in. It looks like he really wanted that goal lol!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the match was fixed. To be honest, I’ve lost hope in Lebanese football a long time ago, especially after 24 players, including members of the National Team, as well as were charged of involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

Let’s wait and see what FIFA decides.

[YouTube]

Thank u Nady!

#Rio2016: Chirine Njeim First Lebanese Olympian Lady to Compete in the Marathon Distance

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Chirine

Chirine Njeim is one of Lebanon’s best alpine skiers and has represented Lebanon at the 2002, 2006 and the 2010 Winter Olympics. This year, she is taking part in the Rio 2016 Marathon race and will be the first lady to represent Lebanon in that distance. Chirine was one of the elite athletes at the 2015 Beirut Marathon and will be running at the Youth race on April 10. She’s also one of the very few athletes to participate in both in Summer and Winter Olympics.

I tried looking for her name or Lebanese athletes on the Rio2016 website, which is horrible by the way, but I couldn’t find anything. I will try to look for further info and mention all the Lebanese athletes taking part in the Olympics in another post.

Historically speaking, Lebanon has only missed 1 Summer Olympic Games back in 1956 and it was a boycott not because no one qualified.

Good luck Chirine!

chirine bm

Lebanese Basketball: Foreign Players Scoring Almost 70% Of Total Points

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Lebanese (bench warming) players via SportsCode

Back in October 2015, I criticized the decision to allow three foreigners players to play in Lebanese Basketball teams and said that it would kill local talent and would destroy the game for the years to come. FLB President Walid Nassar should have never taken that decision and the outcome is as expected. Foreign players are scoring on average 70% of all points and Lebanese players not being given enough time to prove themselves.

I looked at the game stats for the past 8 rounds and computed the average of points scored by foreigners every game for every team. Riyadi, the only team that objected to the 3-foreigners rule was the only team with foreigners scoring less than 50% (assuming Ismail Ahmad is Lebanese of course). Even if we count Ismail as a foreign player, the percentage will be around 52%, which is still better than any other team.

bball (1)

As you can see from the table above, Riyadi is the only team where Lebanese players score more than 50% of the score. Byblos come second with 58%, followed by Homenetmen and Hoops. The teams where foreigners score the most (Above 75%) are Tadamon and Moutahed. There’s one game where Moutahed foreign players scored 90% of the point!

worst 2 teams (1)

best 2 teams (1)

All in all, if the aim from allowing 3 foreign players is to increase competitiveness, lower budgets and allow Lebanese players to improve, it failed miserably. Adding a foreign player will only decrease Lebanese players’ salaries and discourage young talents from joining any team.

Believing in the improvement of Lebanese players is somewhat true as they would be learning from more experienced foreign players. But this only seems to apply during training and not during games. The presence of 3 foreign players on the roster has benched talented Lebanese players and created a huge shadow over local players. In fact, if we look at the top scorers in the league, all of them are foreign players. There are barely any Lebanese even in the top rebounds and assists stats.

Over the weekend 3 different games were held:

– Mouttahed vs. Tadamon
– Sagesse vs. Hoops
– Byblos vs. Riyadi

For each of the teams here is the percentage of points scored by foreigners:

– Mouttahed => 54 out of 78 (69.2%)
– Tadamon => 67 out of 81 (82.7%)
– Sagesse => 66 out of 87 (75.9%)
– Hoops => 50 out of 82 (61%) because of 17 points game by Ali Mezher.
– Byblos => 37 out of 75 (50%) because of an amazing performance by Ali Barada with 19 points.
– Riyadi => 28 out of 66 (42.4%).

As you can see, unless a local talent has a breakout performance, the presence of 3 foreigners takes up 70% if not more of the points scored in a single game.

PS: All stats were taken from the [Lebanese Basketball App].

Thanks Chadi for the help!

40m-long Highline In Tannourine: The First In Lebanon

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highline

Check out this short video shot by Yann Traboulsi and Omar Nassar highlining over the village of Tannourine el Tahta. I don’t recall ever seeing a highline in Lebanon so this might just be the first and it’s pretty cool, despite the many falls. Highline is a balance sport that consists of walking through a rope clamped between two high points.

I hope these guys set up high lines in other spots and shoot longer and cooler videos. For those interested, they also shared on Vimeo technical details on how they set up the high line.

Orphaned 3-Year Old Haidar Visited Real Madrid And Met Cristiano Ronaldo

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haidar22 via DailyStar

Here’s a small update on the #CristianoMeetHaidar story. Haidar did end up visiting Real Madrid and meeting Real’s president and his hero Cristiano Ronaldo. I know this visit won’t bring his family back nor will it make his life any easier in the future, but it brought a smile to his face and probably cheered him up a bit.

Haidar survived the latest Beirut bombings in Burj el Brajneh but unfortunately lost both his parents. He is much better now and is living with his grandparents. Aside from the Real Madrid trip, tens of thousands of dollars were collected online to help him have a better future.

You can follow his updates on this [FB page].

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Watch This Epic Dive From The Top Of Raouche Rock (Pigeon Rock)

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jump1

This video was shared yesterday on NostalgiaLB (I love this page!) and shows an incredible dive by a war amputee called Oliver Ghorayyeb back in 1994 from the top of Raouche Rock.

It’s definitely not the world’s highest cliff dive but it’s quite impressive especially that he’s diving with his head first and from the highest point. I’ve seen other dives but from lower points.

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[YouTube]

#CristianoMeetHaidar: Orphaned 3-Year Old Will Watch El Classico And Meet Ronaldo

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Haidar

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Haidar, the three-year old boy who survived the recent Beirut bombings but unfortunately lost both his parents. Most of the local TVs rushed to interview the poor kid while still at the hospital which was obviously wrong, but something positive came out of his tragic story as an online campaign was kicked off to fulfill Haidar’s dream and let him meet Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The hashtag #CristianoMeetHaidar went viral within few hours with the help of local TVs and celebrities like Elissa and Diana Haddad who offered to cover his trip expenses and it looks like Haidar will meet Cristiano and watch the Classico as well which is amazing news!

Haidar

Of course this trip will not bring his parents back nor make his life any easier but it will definitely cheer him up and boost his morale. Nevertheless, there’s another online campaign to raise money for Haidar and help him build a better future. The funds raised will go into a personal account for Haidar which will later on serve as a tuition fund and any other expenses this child could need.

The death of a parent is considered one of the most painful, if not traumatic, experiences for a child. Haidar needs all the support and love he can get right now and I hope these small gestures will brighten his world.

Lebanon Is Officially Going To The 2017 Rugby League World Cup!

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rugby2

The Lebanese Rugby League National Team defeated South Africa for the second time yesterday (50-12) and has officially qualified to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup which will be held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea!

This is the second time that Lebanon will play in the World Cup. Congrats to the players and the team!

Here are the names of the Lebanese players:
Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Adham El Zbaidieh, Tarek El Masri, Chris Saab, Travis Robinson, Mark Daoud, James Boustani, Mitchell Mamary, Ali Allouche, Ricahrd Coorey, Elias Sukkar, Nick Kassis, Ahmad Ellaz, James Elias, Wael Harb, Robin Hachache, Ead Kassem

You can check out the match report [here].

Lebanon Is One Game Away From Reaching The 2017 Rugby League World Cup!

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rugby

We’re almost there! Our Lebanese Rugby Team beat South Africa 40-12 in Game 1 and now needs to secure a second win against South Africa on Saturday October 31st to qualify to the World Cup! This is amazing news and I’m quite confident we are going to make it this time. Lebanon was expected to play the home game in Dubai due to Lebanon’s security situation but it appears that both games will be played in South Africa instead.

The Lebanese team is mostly made up of Lebanese who play in the Australian league and includes 4 local Lebanese Rugby League Federation players: Robin Hachache, Ray Finnan (Immortals RLFC), Wael Harb and Toufic El Hajj (Wolves RLFC). Toufic also plays for AUB.

The first game was live-streamed on this [link] for those who want to rewatch it. I will provide you with the link for the second game as soon as it’s available.

Lebanon-Rugby-League-National-Team-South-Africa

Thank You Jeffrey!

Foreign Players To Replace Lebanese Basketball Players By 2017

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leb Lebanese players next year – via SportsCode (By Mohammad Noureddine)

In an attempt to take basketball in Lebanon to the next level, the Lebanese Basketball teams and the Federation have met and agreed on a 3-year plan:

Year 1: Allow 3 foreign players instead of 2 in order to push salaries down and make the league more competitive.

Year 2: Allow 5 foreign players instead of 3 and limit the number of Lebanese players to 4 in each team. During this year:
– Lebanese players will be encouraged to take cheer-leading lessons to entertain the crowds during time outs.
– Water boy and ball boy positions will be assigned to Lebanese players and staff to keep them warmed up in case all foreign players got injured.
– Lebanese players who stay on the bench for more than 5 games will have to pay an entrance fee.
– Lebanese players who wish to play for more than 5 minutes per game will have to pay for their own jersey to support local produce.
– Lebanese players will be allowed to sell peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks from the bench.
– Fans will no longer be allowed to chant slogans in Arabic.

Year 3: Ban all Lebanese players from the league and rename the league from FLB to the RNBAPL (Retired NBA Players League). During this year:
– Lebanese players will be assigned special seats with the fans but will have to pay for their own jerseys and tickets.
– Ball boy will have to carry a Lebanese flag to remind everyone this is a Lebanese league.
– Lebanese players who wish to play for local teams can only apply as foreigners if they have non-Lebanese passports.
– Last but not least, Ghayyath Deebra will have to cover the whole game in English.

On a serious note, the decision that was taken today is the dumbest one in Lebanese Basketball history and it will destroy the game for at least the next 2 or 3 years. This federation and all the teams that agreed on 3 foreign players should be ashamed of themselves.

RIP Lebanese Basketball.