The Middle East Africa junior Championship returns after a year’s absence, with the Saudi Rugby League Association’s U18s visiting Lebanon this week.
The 2014 event was cancelled due to regional instability but this year Lebanon will play Saudi Arabia Select, on 13 and 15 February at AUB’s state-of-the-art Hostler Centre.
The last time the countries clashed at this age group, Lebanon won both games 30-18 and 26-22.
Many of the Lebanon players will be making their debut on the international stage but will be led by experienced and talented Omar Marhaba, who has several caps from the U16 and U18 national teams, and who spent two weeks training with English teams in London in 2012.
Head coach Nayef Abi Said noted: “We have prepared as best we can, it will be a tough game as it always is against the Saudi teams, but we hope to retain our title.”
Remond Safi, RLEF MEA Regional Director, said: “It should be great event with both nations fielding new-look sides this year and, with the relative calm in the country, hopefully we are able to see other MEA Championship games return to the calendar.”
Fouad Abou Chedid, Assad Feghali, Nadim Feghali, James Haddad, Marc Kairouz, Raymond Sabat, Julien Taouk, Roy Taouk, Jean Tawil, Mark Zakhem, (Antonine School), Shadi Bazi (American University Beirut), Karim Jammal, (Beirut International School), Robert Farajalla, Michael Moualem (International College Hamra), Omar Marhaba, (Malaab High School), Jeffrey Tohme (Monsef National School), Elia Allam, Singh Bajwa Sukhjoht, Habib Haddad, (Saint Joseph School), Ghayth Nasr, Christopher Sassine, (Tripoli RLFC), Joseph Aslan (University of Balamand), Head Coach Nayef Abi Said, Assistant Mikhael Shammas, Team Manager Nader Mgheit
SAUDI SELECT U18
Camille Youssef El Abbas, Emir Demirhan, Bradley Ellis, Sultan Salem Mohamed Ismael Elkady, Karim Farah, Omar Fahmy, Ahmed Taher Hesham Taher Ibrahim, Gonzalo Lecuona, Noibi Fawwz Mansur, Malek Mounme, Uys Miguel, Mohammed Nakouzi, Joshua Papanicolaou, Michael Saber, Muhammad Sillah, Saleheddine el Madhoun el Yafi, Head Coach David Kinkead, assistant Omar Yamak