The LRLF has completed the first week of its summer youth academy programme, with around 80 boys and girls – aged between 5 and 14 – participating in the Terra Santa Summer Camp in Tripoli and MSL Ghazir Camp in Mont Liban.
Abdallah Dahani and Hadi Rafii are the coaches in the north and Gaby Haddad in Mont Liban.
“This is about introducing youngsters to the game,” said Haddad, who is also the Liban Espoir assistant coach and is training to be a coach educator. “For the older ones, it could be the start of a pathway in rugby league. LRLF already has competitive sides in the U16-U18 categories but it is good to have younger ages, which will help clubs grow and spread the sport’s visibility.”
Tarek Abou Rjeily, leader of the MSL camp said: “We are very excited to include rugby league as part of our camp experience. Summer rugby league is a novel and exciting addition and an excellent sport for young children to take up and the earlier the better. At this age, their minds assimilate like sponges, soaking in the rules and absorbing all the techniques learned.”
Adib Toum from Terra Santa Summer Camp added: “The first week was very positive, it was great to see the kids come to grips with something new. I am from a judo background and there are obvious similarities. My plan is to develop the game more among my kids and try to include it in my Academy throughout the year.”
The LRLF is currently writing its 2020-23 strategy which will focus heavily on growing the sport’s culture in Lebanon through multiple local initiatives, many aimed at continuing to attract youngsters.