After narrowly and heartbreakingly failing to qualify for this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup, the national team now turns its attention towards 2023, as the long journey begins with an attempt to qualify first for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021, starting November 2019.

The draw took place on Saturday, June 8, with Lebanon (#53) – named top seed in its group on May 31st – falling into a relatively easy group D, alongside Iraq (#80), India (#67) and Bahrain (#112).


What you need to know about this event in brief:

1- The last FIBA ASIA Cup (2017) was held in Lebanon.

2- This is the first-ever qualifiers event held, leading towards the FIBA Asia Cup.

3- 24 teams are participating in it (16 from the previous 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, alongside 8 additional ones advancing through regional pre-qualifiers).

4- Out of the 24 teams in the qualifiers, only 16 teams will qualify for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.

5- A new country from the Oceania region, Guam, has been added the draw, with Australia and New Zealand the other 2 nations featured.


How to qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021?

Starting November 2019, a total of 6 games will be played (3 home, 3 away):
Nov 2019 (2 games)
Feb 2020 (2 games)
Nov 2020 (2 games)

The top 2 teams from each group will qualify immediately for the FIBA Asia Cup 2021. The 3rd team from each group will enter playoffs in February 2021, with 4/6 teams to be added to the 12 already-qualified.

You have to qualify to the FIBA Asia 2021 in order to participate in the FIBA WC 2023 qualifications.


What do we know so far about the FIBA World Cup 2023?

The FIBA WC 2023 matches will be held for the first time between the Philippines (4 venues), Japan (1 venue) and Indonesia (1 venue).

32 teams will make the draw, with 29 going through the qualifying rounds which start after the end of the regional cups in early 2021.

The hosts (the Philippines and Japan) have already booked their place in the upcoming WC. Indonesia is under surveillance and will only join the WC if they make a competitive team by then.

Out of the 29 qualifiers, 7 slots are allotted to the Asia/Oceania region: 2 will be occupied by the hosts, with 5 more to be contested by the other teams, including Lebanon.

This is a berth less (7) in total than this World Cup (which had 8 for Asia/Oceania), and 2 fewer chances to qualify (with 2/7 potential spots to be occupied by the hosts, instead of 1/8 this year).


What should Lebanon’s national team do at the moment?

Everything. Restart everything from scratch.

Before stressing out about the upcoming World Cup, start by building up a homogenous team (we don’t lack talents at all, just a bit of organization and teamwork), and go progressively through: the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifications, the FIBA Asia Cup 2021, the FIBA WC 2023 qualifications and finally reach the FIBA WC 2023.

That’s a very long way to go, but we can make it with the young talents emerging, I am absolutely sure about that.