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Lebanon national basketball team


Lebanon national basketball team

Lebanon لبنان
FIBA ranking 43 9[1]
Joined FIBA 1947
FIBA zone FIBA Asia
National federation Federation Libanaise de Basketball FLB
Coach Veselin Matić
Nickname(s) The Cedars
FIBA World Cup
Appearances 3
Asian Championship
Appearances 8
Medals 3
European Championship
Appearances 2
Light jersey
Team colours
Dark jersey
Team colours

The Lebanon national basketball team is the basketball team of men representing Lebanon in international competitions. Lebanon has been considered as one of the top teams in the FIBA Asia sector after coming runners up on three occasions during the 2001 FIBA Asia Championship, the 2005 FIBA Asia Championship and the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship.

In 2013, Lebanon was banned by FIBA in all sanctioned events after political interventions in Lebanese basketball. Therefore, Lebanon didn't participate in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship missing the chance to qualify to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup for the fourth time in a row. The ban was then removed in early 2014 after the election of a new basketball federation.


  • History 1
    • Stanković Cup 1.1
    • FIBA Asia and World championships 1.2
    • 2013 FIBA suspension 1.3
  • Results 2
    • FIBA World Championship records 2.1
    • World Cup 2.2
    • Asian Championship 2.3
  • Team 3
    • Current roster 3.1
    • Lebanese NBA Players 3.2
    • Notable players 3.3
    • Previous rosters 3.4
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The first time basketball was played in Lebanon was in the mid-1920s in the American University of Beirut. Gabi Arbaji was the first to prepare a basketball playground in Tabaris area, where the early college competitions were held.

In 1939, the first college championship was organized and the finals opposed the Makassed team to the AUB and ended with a major victory to Makassed with a score of (33–11). The Lebanese Basketball Federation was jointly founded later in 1949 along with the Lebanese Volleyball Federation. The Lebanese Basketball Federation is a member of the International, Asian, West Asian and Arab basketball organizations. The two federations broke up and the first independent Lebanese Basketball Federation was born in 1955. But the Lebanese Basketball Championship was already organized back in 1951. The Lebanese Basketball Championship was organized and the champions were crowned till 1975 when the dramatic war stopped everything. In this period before the war, Riyadi team had the biggest number of trophies. During the war, the basketball never stopped and there were always tournaments organized between the clubs of each section in the country and the players did not stop from doing their best hobby. After the war in 1993 the 1st championship was organized under the era of Tony Khoury who stood in the Federation for so many years and from that time the media started to had a bigger interest in this game until late 1996 when a new Federation was born with Antoin Chartier as a president, at that time the LBC interfered and sponsored the game so this date was the big launching of the Lebanese Basketball.

The Lebanese made their debut in the European championship tournaments with Eurobasket 1949, held in Cairo, Egypt. They lost all six of their games in the seven-team round-robin tournament, finishing in 7th and last place. The refusal of the Soviet Union to host the competition and FIBA Europe's unwillingness to ask Czechoslovakia to host consecutive tournaments meant that 1947 bronze medallist Egypt hosted the competition. Due to travel difficulties and fears, few European teams would travel to the African country to compete. Lebanon, as well as Syria, were asked to compete in the European championship despite being Asian countries.Lebanon played in the European competition again at Eurobasket 1953 in Moscow. They lost all four of their preliminary round, including one by forfeit as the team refused to play against Israel. The team was able to defeat Sweden in the first classification round, giving them their first Eurobasket win. They placed 4th in their five-team group, advancing to the 13–16 classification games. They lost the first 58–56 to West Germany, but won against Denmark 74–40 to take 15th place of the 17 teams.

The two federations broke up and the first independent Lebanese Basketball Federation was founded in 1955. This plan was already organized by the year 1951. The Lebanese Basketball Championship was formed back then, and went into action till Lebanese civil war. In this period before the war, Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut team had the biggest number of trophies.

This new federation started to organize lot of championships (other categories . ages championships, .............), in 1997 that championship finished as Riyadi Champion, the next season they went to Malaysia to participate in the Asian championship for clubs they reached the 3rd place and on their return to Beirut all the roads to the airport were closed because the Lebanese fans were on the streets to meet their champions. The same year in 1998 Riaydi lost the championship to their big rival Sagesse . The Lebanese Basketball Federation hosted a big tournament the Arab club Championship in Which Sagesse won the 1st ever trophy to Lebanon after losing the final in 1996 in Beirut also. Beirut did not sleep that night all over he country people were on the roads partying till dawn, the next day all the schools were closed. In 1999 Beirut hosted the Asian Champion ship for clubs, Sagesse managed to win the 1st ever Asian title for Lebanese teams, the mood that day was unbelievable everybody forget about the previous title and the parties were crazy in all over the country. This same year Sagesse managed to retain their title in the Arab club Championship which was held for the 2nd consecutive time in Beirut. Late 1999 new Elections were made and a new group came to the federation on their head Mr. Jean Hammam with a big target in his mind to reach to higher levels on the clubs and national teams competitions. So the new federation started to work on the national teams Men, Women, Young man, Junior Men with bringing the best coaches.

After the war in 1993, the 1st championship was organized under the era of Tony Khoury who stood in the Federation for many years; from that time the media started to have a bigger interest in this game. In late 1996, a new Federation was formed with Antoin Chartier as a president, at that time the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation sponsored the game and is still till nowadays. In late 1999, new elections were made and a new group came to the federation on their head Jean Hammam with a big target in his mind to reach to higher levels on the clubs and national teams competitions. The new federation started to work on the national teams for men, women, junior Men.

In May 2000, Lebanon once more hosted the Asian Championship for clubs and one more time Sagesse won it and created history by being the only team to win the championship two consecutive times. The new group changed the regulation of the federation in a way that can fit the targets designed and they have created new regulations for the players concerning their transfers and their signatures in their clubs. These new rules changed the idea of Basketball in Lebanon and the Basketball player, he turned down to be a professional one after these changes.

In March 2000, Sagesse lost their Arabic Title in Dubai and finished the championship in third place. In 2001, Sagesse failed to retain their Asian Title in Dubai, they finished sixth. In 2002, Beirut hosted the Arab club Championship once again Sagesse failed to regian their title back and they finished 4th in the Championship, but the women's team of Sagesse Mar Doumit made another history by winning the Arab Title for the first in the history of the Lebanese Woman Basketball. In 2000 the Lebanese Basketball Federation signed a contract with Andrew Young. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama,he and his wife and daughter were living in Bahrain. The Lebanese National Team won the WABA championship that year but lost their coach one day before the start of the championship who died in his hotel room due to a heart attack. This event gave the Lebanese national team a bigger motivation to go till the end, the next year in 2001 under another American coach, John Neuman, they played the second round of qualifications of WABA which led them to play the Asian Championship for National Team in China . This tournament will turn down to be the best result in the history of Lebanese Basketball . for the 1st participation in a such event Lebanon managed to reach the semi-final and to beat Korea and reach the Final and in the same time to reach the World Championship in the USA in 2002 .Lebanon lost in the final but in Lebanon every place were full of emotions, and the national team players were the long time waited heroes for the Lebanese People, the celebrations were everywhere in the country, the president of the republic and the prime minister met the Lebanese Team and congratulate them.

In 2002 the Lebanese National team went to so many camps in the USA before 1 month of the Championship, and they managed t show a good level of the Lebanese Basketball, Lebanon was ranked at the end 16. In 2003 the Lebanese National team with a new coach Ghassan Sarkis reached the final of the Jordan Tournament to loose against the Egyptian team, and they reached the semi final of the Asian Championship in China to loose against the Korean team by overtime and to be ranked 4th overall in the championship. As for the other national teams in 2000 the Junior National Team played the Asian Championship in Malaysia after playing the Qualifications in Beirut in reaching the 2nd place, in 2001 the Junior National Team won the WABA Championship which qualified him to play the Asian Championship in Kuwait in 2002 in which he reached the 9th place with 1 loss. In 2003 they played the qualifications for the Asian Championship in Yemen and they reached the 2nd place. The women national team played the Arab Championship in 2000 in Algeria, they won all their games except the one against the home team so they reached the 2nd spot which was a great results for the Women Basketball . In 2003 They won the Jordan tournament after beating all the Arab national teams with comfortable margin, the women national is full of new generation players. As for the young men national team they played the WABA Championship in 2003 and they reached the 2nd spot. In 2004 Sagesse made another step in the history after winning back the Asian Championship for Clubs in Dubai and to be the 1st team ever to win it three times.

In 2005 The Lebanese Men's National team made another historic achievement by qualifying for the second consecutive time to the World Championship by finishing 2nd in the Asian Championship behind China. In 2005 Riyadi imposed its supremacy on the Arabic clubs scene by winning the Arab Club Championship which was held in Dubai. In 2006 Lebanon had its most successful summer of Basketball, The men national team achieved the best results for Lebanon by beating Venezuela and Canada in the ALPOS CUP in Slovenia and by beating again Venezuela and France in the world championship in Japan. The Lebanese Junior National added to this achievement another one which was the qualification to the U19 Men World Championship for the first time ever which will be held in Vancouver – Canada in July 2007. Riyadi – Beirut Club Once again retained its Arabic title by winning the Arabic Title in Morocco. As for the women's Antranik -Beirut club created history by being the only Lebanese team to win the Arab Championship for Women's clubs for the first time outside Lebanon, the championship was held in Dubai.

Stanković Cup

See Article: 2010 FIBA Asia Stanković Cup Lebanon hosted the all-new Stanković Cup in 2010 from the 7 to 15 August. Ghazir Club Court welcomed 10 national teams from Asia. The tournament was concluded with the victory of the Lebanese basketball team over the Japanese side with 38 points difference and a 7–0 run.

FIBA Asia and World championships

Rodrigue Akl with Lebanese National Team in the William Jones Cup

In the FIBA Asia Championship, Lebanon finished 2nd three times (2001, 2005 and 2007), losing twice in the final to China and once to Iran, respectively. They participated in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, the second time they qualified for the tournament (First was in 2002). During that tournament, they managed to beat France and Venezuela but lost to Serbia and Montenegro, Nigeria and Argentina in the first round, finishing in 5th place out of the six to be eliminated.

The 2006 tournament was considered a success mainly because of the political problems Lebanon is having lately. Lebanon's 74–73 victory over France was considered one of the upsets of the tournament.[2] Fadi El Khatib was the seventh best scorer in the tournament, averaging 18 points per game. His performances in the World Championship affected his team's status because in Lebanon's victories El Khatib averaged 32 points per game while averaging only 10 points per game in Lebanon's losses.

Lebanon participated in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and managed to beat Canada 81–71[3] before losing the remaining of their group games.

In the William Jones Cup Lebanon finished second overall two times (2007 and 2010) and third once (2009).

2013 FIBA suspension

As of July 2013, Lebanon is serving a FIBA-approved[4] indefinite suspension. This came after the parties within the country's national basketball federation failed to resolve their differences, forcing FIBA Asia to suspend the country from all of its sanctioned events until further notice in spite of the fact that FIBA Asia secretary general Hagop Khajirian is Lebanese. However, on 8 May 2014 after recent appeals by the Lebanese Federation, FIBA eventually uplifted the ban allowing the national team to once again compete on the international stage.[5]


FIBA World Championship records

World Cup

Year Rank Pld W L
1950 Did not enter
1974 Did not qualify
1978 Did not enter
1982 Did not qualify
2002 16th Place 4 0 4
2006 18th Place 6 2 4
2010 21st Place 5 1 4
2014 Suspended
Total 3/17 16 3 12

Asian Championship

Year Rank Pld W L
1949 7th place 7 1 6
1953 15th place 7 2 5
1960 Did not enter
1973 - - -
1975 Did not enter
1981 - - -
1983 - - -
1985 - - -
1987 Did not enter
1989 - - -
1991 - - -
1993 - - -
1995 - - -
1997 - - -
1999 7th place
2001 Runners-up 7 4 3
2003 4th place 7 4 3
2005 Runners-up 10 8 2
2007 Runners-up 10 8 2
2009 4th Place 11 7 4
2011 6th place 12 7 5
2013 Suspended 0 0 0
2015 5th place 9 5 4
Total 7/26 63 43 23


Current roster

Roster for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

# Pos Name Club Date of Birth Height
4 SF Jean Abdelnour Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut (1983-01-11)11 January 1983 (aged 32) 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
5 SG Amir Saoud Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut (1991-01-18)18 January 1991 (aged 24) 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
6 PF Ali Haidar Michigan Tech Huskies (1990-07-20)20 July 1990 (aged 25) 2.04 m (6 ft 8 12 in)
7 PG Wael Arakji Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut (1994-09-04)4 September 1994 (aged 21) 1.94 m (6 ft 4 12 in)
8 C Joseph Aby Kheres Byblos Club (1992-10-03)3 October 1992 (aged 22) 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in)
9 SF Ahmad Ibrahim Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut (1992-02-18)18 February 1992 (aged 23) 2.00 m (6 ft 6 12 in)
10 SG Nadim Souaid Champville SC (1986-08-20)20 August 1986 (aged 29) 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
11 PG Rodrigue Akl Hekmeh BC (1988-09-30)30 September 1988 (aged 26) 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
12 C Charles Tabet Al Mouttahed Tripoli (1988-07-01)1 July 1988 (aged 27) 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in)
13 PF Bassel Bawji Champville SC (1989-12-26)26 December 1989 (aged 25) 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
14 SG Jay Youngblood Byblos Club (1984-07-20)20 July 1984 (aged 31) 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
14 SF Omar Ayoubi Byblos Club (1991-12-21)21 December 1991 (aged 23) 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)

Lebanese NBA Players

Notable players

Previous rosters

  • 1949 EuroBasket: Finished 7th among 7 teams
  • 1953 EuroBasket: Finished 15th among 17 teams
  • Ahmed Idlibi
  • Christos Georgio
  • Maurice Nasr
  • Elie Homsi
  • Shawki Rababeh
  • Naim Barakat
  • Saadeddine Itani
  • Vartkes Alahaidoian
  • Jean Diarbekirian
  • Khalil Mekkawi
  • Georges Estephan
  • Edouard Karam
  • Coach: Ahon Kadian
  • 2002 World Championship: Finished 16th among 16 teams
  • 2006 World Championship: Finished 18th among 24 teams
  • 2010 World Championship: Finished 20th among 24 teams


  1. ^ "FIBA Ranking for Men". Fiba.Com. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "27th FIBA Asia C'ship: Fray reduced to 15 after Lebanon suspension". 
  5. ^ Inquirer Sports: Lebanon ouster to benefit Gilas

External links

  • Official website
  • FIBA profile
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