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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
A year go, I wrote a post against allowing 3 foreign players instead of two in the Lebanese Basketball teams and I applauded the FLB President Walid Nassar for standing against this decision, hoping that he won’t change his mind.
I don’t know what made him change his mind but I would have fired this guy and anyone in favor of this decision if that was their plan to save the game in Lebanon. All those who are thinking that way are arguing that Lebanese basketball players are overpriced and that they’d rather overpay one additional foreign player than invest in Lebanese. I’ve already said it and I say it again: This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard and it will destroy the game if implemented. If anything, the teams should allow only one foreign player and the federation can always bring down the salaries for Lebanese players if they find them outrageous and high (which they are not). Moreover, if the teams are suffering financially, it’s because they’ve been spending massively on foreign players (instead of spending on young talents) in the past years in order to clinch the title, and I am sure they will do the same as soon as their financial situation improves and spend even more on foreign players since they will be allowed three. Every year, some politician or business man spends a couple of millions on a team hoping to win the title, then he dumps it the year later. This is totally unacceptable and will definitely kill the game on the long run.
On another note, no one is apparently willing to take the blame for the unpreparedness of our National Team for the Asian Cup, the absence of Fadi el Khatib, the lack of a center in the team and other issues. If the president, the director or the minister can’t take responsibility for anything, then maybe they are in the wrong place. Moreover, if they are unable to do their job because of other members, then let them expose them.
Every year, those in charge manage to screw things up and ruin our chances of achieving better results with the national team. The players and the fans are the victims as always, and to be honest, there’s nothing that can be done as long as politics are involved and incompetent people are running the game.
Austrian Sport Climber and Mountaineer David Lama chose Lebanon as the location for his latest adventure and decided to climb Tannourine’s famous sink hole to become the first ever climber to do so. Lama was helped by Lebanese Jad Khoury and described the Baatara gorge as one of the most difficult climbs he’s ever done. They named the gorge “Avaatara”, a combination of ‘Avatar’ and Baatara in reference to its surreal settings.
And reality surpassed the image. “When I walked in for the very first time, I almost thought this can’t be real. The sinkhole is a magical place: Waterfalls dropping in there almost a hundred metres, three, beautiful, natural arches, the blue and orange rock, a perfect contrast – simply beautiful. In combination with the lush green plants, it immediately made me think of the surreal landscape in the movie ‘Avatar’,” David Lama says, “it’s not very common that you get to such a stunning location and there’s nobody who’s ever climbed it.” [Source]
Enough with the garbage talks and the ugly pictures we’ve been seen for over a week now, here’s an breathtaking movie showing Lebanon’s natural beauty though the eyes of Silvio Chiha, an internationally known Lebanese water skiing champion, and the lens of my good friend Charbel Bouez.
Sit back and enjoy the beautiful Lebanon we know and that we want to show to the world!
Sarah Khalife has just won a Bronze Medal in the Aquatics 100M Free Style for Lebanon at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games that are being held in Los Angeles. Sarah is not the only member of the Lebanese delegation as there are 13 other athletes competing in different events. I looked them up on the LA Special Olympics website:
Mohammad al Agha
Saad el Ghadban
Congrats to Sarah and best of luck to all our athletes!