According to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, ex-Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola used to go as far as spy on his players to make sure that they are staying fit and not drinking or smoking or partying too much. Now this may seem a bit extreme but it shows how dedicated Guardiola was to keep his team in great shape and achieve victories (And it clearly paid off).
For those of you interested in joining the Bikeathon 2013, here’s the full day program as it was mentioned in the press conference:
Program for the 14th of April 2013:
Location: Beirut By Bike New Water-Front, Beirut Souks, Ein El Mreyse, Beirut.
7:00 Distribution of bicycles
8:30 National anthem followed by the event kick off
9:00 Start of the 10K fun ride
10:00 10K Results and Beirut Fun Ride Kick off
12:00 End of Beirut Fun Ride
14:00 Closing Ceremony
Cost is 10$ with a free bike for the first 1000 participants.
Sagesse – Sporting 2002 finale fight: The recent fights we’ve re witnessing in Lebanese Basketball have been happening for years
To be honest, I didn’t follow up closely what happened during the Champville and Sagesse game few days back but from what I’ve read, Sagesse brought more fans that it was allowed to, a lot of rules got violated, the whole game was a total mess and should not have taken place. Both teams got penalized, including Champville’s Coach Ghassan Sarkis and as a result of this fight, Champville’s president resigned from the federation.
I’ve repeated on several occasions the real cause behind these problems in the Lebanese Basketball League and obviously no one wants to listen but I have a question to ask here:
- Who’s the genius that decided to limit the number of Sagesse players and fans combined to 38 in an away game? Are you seriously asking a team as popular as Sagesse to restrict its number of fans to 10 or 15? What sort of logic is that?
- سنداً لاحكام المادة 210 التي تجيز للجنة الادارية اتخاذ اي عقوبة تراها مناسبة ، حيث ان نادي الحكمة خالف تعاميم الاتحاد وتجاوز عدد جمهوره 400 شخص في المباراة المذكورة بالرغم من ان العدد المحدد هو 38 بما فيهم اللاعبين والجمهور مما خلق جواً من البلبلة والفوضى وخسّر أفضلية جمهور للنادي المضيف، قرّرت اللجنة الادارية توقيف جمهور نادي الحكمة في اول مباراتين على ارضه.
Georges Eid is the only Lebanese competing and wants to bring the title home. Let’s wish him luck!
Al Batal is a unique concept for Arabic TV that will promote Arab fighters around the region and internationally as MMA becomes increasingly popular. The show will first showcase 14 of the finest amateur welterweight Arab MMA fighters that ADFC team had chosen from different organizations.
Al Batal will start airing on Fox Movies, Fox Sports and FX this April. The shooting is currently taking place in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It’s gonna be legendary. Wait for it! [Source]
I’ve never been to the Golf Course in Beirut but I tried two Mini-Golf courses in Kaslik and Mansourieh. The problem with Beirut’s Golf Course is that few people know about it and it’s far, so hopefully by setting up another course in Roumieh, more Lebanese will start playing Golf. I would personally go give it a try.
PS: This is great news for Roumieh prisoners as well.
Plans to build a new course in the hills of Roumieh, 18km east of Beirut, are currently under negotiation. The Lebanese architectural and engineering firm Khatib & Alami is partnering with British golf architects Swan Golf Designs (SGD) with an aim to build an 18-hole course that will, in the words of a press release, offer “views of the capital city to the Mediterranean beyond” and “be set within the indigenous forest with holes sweeping through the valleys, making the most out of the changes in elevation that the spectacular location affords.” It will constitute part of a wider development also comprising residential real estate and a hotel. [Link]
Bikeathon Association Lebanon and Baldati.com are organizing the Bike for Peace event on April 14, 2013 in an attempt to promote cycling in Lebanon, create awareness to alternative transportation methods that reduce traffic and demand a friendly-cycling road environment.
A Press Conference will be held on March 5 at ABC Achrafieh to discuss further details of the event.
I found out about this event by mistake on the Ministry of Tourism’s website and there was no mention on how to subscribe or where to check for further info. It wouldn’t hurt to promote such an event in a proper way and encourage Lebanese to join. It’s definitely better than throwing thousands of dollars on lousy promotional ads.
If tourists don’t want to visit Lebanon anymore, let’s encourage domestic tourism and organize events all across Lebanon that bring Lebanese together and benefit everyone.
Entrance fee for Bikeathon is 10$. You can check out more details [Here].
Mahmoud al Ali – Football Player part of the National Team and one of the masterminds behind the match-fixing scandal
Few days ago, 24 Lebanese Football Players and two officials were charged of involvement in the match-fixing scandal that has been ongoing since 2006. The charges varied from a life-time ban and a $15,000 penalty to 1 season ban and meager penalty of $2000. Having said that, I still believe the charges aren’t harsh enough and the damage that these players caused to the Lebanese Football is irreparable.
Why am I saying that? Just check the match-fixing details as they happened that Al-Akhbar published yesterday! In fact I will make an effort and translate few excerpts into English to show you how bad this is.
First story is from the game that opposed Lebanon to South Korea back in June 2012 and that Lebanon lost 3-0. While thousands of Lebanese in Lebanon and abroad were cheering for their team, supporting them in every way possible, making Lebanon trend on Twitter, coming up with new songs and video clips on YouTube and encouraging the players one by one, two of our National Team Players were conspiring to make us lose 4-0 to earn some extra cash from a bet they had placed earlier.
لقصص التي لم تنشر سابقاً كثيرة وبعضها يصيب المرء بالصدمة وبالقرف في آنٍ معاً، اذ لا يمكن تقبّل فكرة ان الجمهور اللبناني كان جالساً على اعصابه امام شاشات التلفزة لمتابعة المباراة التي خسرها لبنان امام كوريا الجنوبية 0-3 في حزيران الماضي، في الوقت الذي كان ينادي فيه لاعب مدافع على زميله المهاجم بعدم التقدّم الى الامام بهذا الشكل بل العودة الى الخلف للمشاركة في المهمة بحيث ان «التعليمة» تقول بأنه يفترض ان يخسر لبنان بنتيجة 0-4 والوقت كان قريباً من النهاية.
Second Story is from the last Arab cup where Lebanon was facing Iraq. Lebanon’s best goalkeeper Abdel Samad was injured and due to miss the game but the coach allowed him to play at the last second. This last-minute change led 8 of the players/officials involved in match-fixing to try and convince Samad in the dressing room to concede 3 goals. Samad was enraged by their request and told them he’d never do such a thing. Iraq won by one goal.
والصمد نفسه عاش تجربة صادمة في كأس العرب الاخيرة، فهو عشية المباراة امام العراق أُبلغ بعدم خوضه للقاء قبل ان يبدّل المدرب الالماني ثيو بوكير رأيه ويعلمه باشراكه بدلاً من محمد حمود. هذا القرار خربط كل حسابات عملاء مكاتب المراهنات، فتوجّه ثمانية منهم الى الصمد خلال تبديله لملابسه طالبين منه المساهمة بخسارة لبنان بثلاثية نظيفة، فكان ردّ الحارس صارماً وقاسياً على محدثيه متوعداً اياهم بالاسوأ في حال كرروا طلبهم بخصوص موضوعٍ مشابه. وهذا الحديث جرى على مسامع اداري المنتخب فؤاد بلهوان الذي كان متواجداً بالصدفة في دورة المياه. ودورات المياه كانت مركزاً في بعض الاحيان لتوزيع الاموال، وفي احيانٍ اخرى باحات المطارات حيث سُدّدت المبالغ – المكافآت للمتورّطين.
I never followed closely Lebanese Football but never missed a chance to support the National Team, but after reading these stories, I don’t think I will ever watch any football game that includes Lebanese clubs or the National Team.
Respect to Roda Antar, Youssef Mohammad, Bilal Najarian and Ziad el Samad and to all the players who refused to betray their team and stood against other players fixing games and placing bets.
[YouTube] I want to believe that the investigation was clean and thorough but I can’t
Gloria Nasr was born in Beirut but has been living in France since 1995. She is planning a 5000km run for Peace from Paris all the way to Beirut. She will start her run on the 7th of April 2013 at the Champs Elysees in Paris and arrive to Beirut in August.
You can check out more about her run [Here] and help achieve her goal [Here].
I wonder if it will be safe to run across Syria when she gets there
[YouTube] LBC report on the Lebanese Football players involved in match-fixing
Update: Regarding the other players implicated:
- Hadi Al Sahmrani and Mohammad Jaafar were banned for 3 seasons and charged $5000 each.
- Ali Bazzi, Ali Faour, Ahmad Zreik, Hassan Mezher, Abbas Kanaan, Mohammad Hammoud, Mohammad Abou Atik, Hussein Dakik, Samer Zeineddine, Hassan Alawiye, Mohammad Younes, Ali Al Saadi, Omar Owaida, Tarek Ali, Akram el Maghrebi, Nazih Assaad, Bashar el Mokdad, Hussein Charife and Ahmad Younnes were banned for 1 season and charged $2000 each.
- Al Ahed club officials Fadi Fneich and Ali Zanit were banned for life as well. [Source]
To be honest, $15,000 is a ridiculous punishment for what they’ve done. If it were up to me, I would have thrown them in jail for a year or two and made them pay more along with the lifetime ban. Added to that, early reports indicate tens of players involved, including 9 in the National Team. What happened to the other players implicated in that scandal?
I hope Mahmoud and Ramez didn’t serve as scapegoats.
Amin Younes scored today the equalizing goal for his team Borussia Mönchengladbach against Borussia Dortmund. Amin is a German footballer of Lebanese descent who plays as a right winger and has a promising career as he’s only 19.
SkyDive Lebanon are asking for the creation of a skydiving center in Lebanon for three reasons:
1- The weather is perfect for skydiving here (Low winds and blue sky).
2- High demand: Activity is booming and there’s no center in Lebanon and only 5 in the region (as opposed to 69 in France only)
3- A new tourist attraction.
Iran is the new WABA Cup Champion after defeating Lebanon 100-86 in overtime. From the comments I’ve been reading on Lebanese Basketball’s Facebook page, a lot of fans are putting the blame on National Team Coach Ghassan Sarkis as well as the lack of preparations.
To be honest, I never liked Ghassan Sarkis and I don’t think he’s fit to coach the National Team but we can’t blame him for this loss or any other loss as nothing’s functioning properly in the Lebanese Basketball as a whole.
In other news, Rony Abou Jaoude is still in a critical condition and things are not looking so well at the moment. Let’s hope and pray he gets better.