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
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.
Last summer, excitement in Lebanese football was high, mainly in anticipation of the National Team’s historic participation in the Asian Cup in January, their first major tournament in 19 years. Indeed, this year was to be arguably the most important year in Lebanese football history, and with ambitions of making it to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup for the first time, it was more crucial than ever that the domestic game had a strong year. However, unfortunately, it was to be quite the opposite, as numerous issues amounted to provide one of the worst seasons in Lebanese football since the end of the Civil War.