For the 2nd time in a row, Lebanon has won the u-16 West Asian Championship in Women’s football after having won their first title back in 2019.
Lebanon finished the group stage in 1st place having beaten Bahrain 2-0, overcoming Palestine 5-0 & drawing 1-1 with hosts Jordan before beaten Jordan 2-0 in the final thanks to goal from Cecile Iskandar & Lea El Hajj Ali.
Lebanon have also won the last two u-18 West Asian Girls Championships. In fact, of 6 youth girls tournaments that the WAFF has organised, Lebanon has won 4 of them, finishing runner-up in the other two.
A big mabrouk to head coach Sahar Dbouk & to all the girls 🥳🇱🇧
In an unexpected development, Ahed decided to part ways with their head coach Baaden Marmar following their 0-0 draw with Nejmeh on Sunday, replacing him with the Syrian head coach Refaat Mohammad.
Ahed seemed to claim that this was a strategic decision & that they felt the need to inject freshness into the coaching staff but the odd timing of it suggests there may have been a falling out of some sorts. That would not be the first time there are issues between Marmar & the Ahed board.
Marmar has been the best coach in Ahed’s history & is arguably the most successful Lebanese coach of all time. Under his leadership, Ahed imperiously dominated the domestic game, winning 3 league titles including 2 successive domestic doubles in his first spell at the club before winning a fourth title last year. He also led Ahed to Lebanon’s first ever continental title, winning the AFC Cup in 2019, keeping 9 clean sheets out of 11 games on the way. Ahed also went on a remarkable run of more than 2 years without a defeat in domestic football. Furthermore, Marmar was instrumental in the success of Ahed’s academy not only in winning youth titles but also in producing a lot of the talent that has gone on to win titles for the senior side & become part of the National Team as well.
Marmar also became the first Lebanese manager to coach outside of Lebanon at a professional level when he took charge of Al Arabi in Kuwait where he won the Kuwait Crown Prince Cup.
There is no denying the brilliance of Marmar who is still young and surely has a bright future ahead of him. Hopefully we will see him test himself abroad again next. I also see him coaching the National Team in the near future & he could be just what the Cedars need
Today sees Lebanon kick off their Fifa Arab Cup 2021 campaign against none other than the great Pharaon. Egypt will arguably be the Cedars’ toughest test of the tournament and all eyes will be on the two sides as they both cope with key absences. Indeed, because of the fact that this tournament, which is being played as a warmup to next year’s first ever World Cup on Arab soil, is not occurring during an official international break, many of the players based outside of the Arab world were unable to attend. Nonetheless, this should be an exciting encounter in front of a large crowd of expatriate Lebanese supporters – 7 thousand are expected to attend today’s game against Egypt – who will passionately cheer on their team.
Thursday’s game against Iran was one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for Lebanese fans as the Cedars led for almost the entire game before falling apart in stoppage time and losing the game 2-1. Despite the supporters ban imposed by FIFA supposedly for “security reasons” in what was Lebanon’s first home game of this stage of World Cup Qualifying, the game was played with intensity and the tension was palpable as Lebanon came agonisingly close to a historic result that would have placed them in a very favourable position in the overall context of the group.
Lebanon kick started their Third Round of World Cup Qualifying campaign with an important goalless draw against the UAE in Dubai on Thursday. Having gone into this game as big underdogs and considering they were subjected to significant pressure by the hosts at times during this game, the Cedars walk away the happier of the two sides as they get their first point on the board. This was not only the first game of the Third Round of WCQ but it was also the first game for Lebanon under the tutelage of Czech head coach Ivan Hasek, and lots of eyes were on the Cedars to see how they fared at the highest level of continental football and under new management. After all, Lebanon scraped through the Second Round thanks in no small part to the results of other teams as well as the surprising withdrawal of North Korea and they definitely have a point to prove regarding whether they even deserve to be playing at such an advanced stage. At the end of an intense 90 minutes and hard-earned draw, we learned several key things about this “new” Lebanon side.
With a win in tomorrow morning’s game against Turkmenistan, the Cedars would ensure only their second ever qualification to the Third Round of the World Cup Qualifiers, the first time being that historic run in the 2014 edition.
This weekend sees the long awaited return of the Lebanese Premier League and I think it’s fair to say we are very excited. Domestic competitive football has become a rare occurrence in recent years because of social turmoil and the health crisis linked to the pandemic. So it’s wonderful to see the league return, and the new format does add excitement to the competition, which may give us the best title race we have seen in years with 3 teams potentially fighting it out to be crowned champions.