HAIDAR – During the most recent window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the Cedars may have had the impression that they were being hunted down by their opponents.
Since the beginning of February, they have only been defeated by Australia in the final of the FIBA Asia Cup 2022, making them one of the hottest teams in the area. They were coming off of a great performance in Window 4, in which they had defeated a Philippines national squad captained by Jordan Clarkson in an exciting fashion.
Then, as they prepared to travel into Window 5, Lebanon suddenly found themselves without a handful of their stars as they got ready to face a competitor in New Zealand.
They were able to feel part of that weight on their shoulders, but Ali Haidar was having none of that nonsense.
In response to the question of the pressure, Haidar stated, “We do not feel the pressure.” “We trust ourselves, we trust our coach, and we trust everyone else on this team,” the players said. Due to the fact that we have been making preparations, we do not feel any pressure. Because we know going into each game that the result will either be a win or a loss, we aren’t under as much pressure. The boys are doing an outstanding job, and they have faith in me. I delivered sometimes, sometimes I didn’t deliver.”
We don’t put unnecessary strain on ourselves in an effort to sabotage our performance. We laugh, we joke, and we have a good time.”
After victories over New Zealand and India in Window 5, Lebanon increased their winning record in the Asian Qualifiers to seven straight matches, much to the delight of their fans. That’s 12 wins out of 13 games in the last eight months, and that includes winning the Asia Cup.
Lebanon have been able to get into this groove because of the culture they have developed, which is a brotherhood, which has enabled the players to be themselves within the system. This has helped the team to be successful. Obviously, the presence of a “big brother figure” like Ali Haidar has also been an important component in the puzzle pieces for this team fitting together correctly.
“When you get chosen in this scenario, you have to stand up and you have to be a role model,” said Haidar, who was the most senior player on the club during this window. Haidar is 32 years old and was the most experienced player during this window.
“It was a stroke of good luck that my teammates put their faith in me and pay attention to what I have to say. We have developed wonderful chemistry because to the faith shown to us by the coaches and the federation. Because of this, we function as a unified entity. That is what contributes to our success; it is a wonderful circumstance that we are now in, and I am hoping that when the boys go back, we will be able to just keep rolling.
Whoever won the Most Valuable Player award at the 2022 Asia Cup, Wael Arakji, Sergio El Dawich, Amir Saoud, Elie Chamoun, or Yousef Khayat, none of them played during the window in issue. Those players were the ones in question. When a team has as much quality as Lebanon does in its talent pool, it is never simple to manage how they rotate players through so many minutes of play on the squad’s rotation.
Again, this could have put further stress on the younger players who were making their first appearances with the national team, such as Omar Jamaleddine, Gabriel Salibi, or Marc Khoueiry. Again, big brother Ali was there to lend a hand and make the process of transitioning a lot less bumpy.
Regarding the young people, Haidar shared his advice with them, saying, “I always advise them to have a big heart to take in whatever they can.” “I informed them that it is time for them to step up. They need to adjust to the demanding nature of the position. They took the time to pay attention, and they are open to new ideas. That is the most important point.
Despite this, Haidar couldn’t wait till this hot team is at full strength again, both in terms of its health and its availability, so that it can play up to its full potential.
Hairdar said, “I warned the boys that the shoes they left are enormous shoes,” referring to the shoes that were left behind. We were able to accomplish a lot with the assistance of Wael, Sergio, Amir, Elie, and Yousef; we can’t wait to have them back so they can make our job easier.
Due to the fact that we have been playing together for the past two years, we have developed a great deal of chemistry. This is not something that can be found overnight with the younger boys, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that they will return very soon and make our tasks easier.
That job, which will take place after yet another window of Asian Qualifiers in February 2023, is going to be the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. Lebanon had qualified for the flagship tournament that will be hosted in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia next year, marking their return to the event for the first time since 2006. The event will be held in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
If there is one thing that will make Haidar even more enthusiastic than the opportunity to play with a complete squad, it will be the opportunity to play with a full squad at the World Cup the following year.
He was alluding to the individuals who had previously represented Lebanon at the World Cup in 2006 and added, “It’s wonderful, I hear about the experience from the men.”
They say that it is incredible, and I can’t wait to experience it for myself because of what others have said. I am aware that it is going to be a very difficult endeavor, as well as a very rewarding experience. Since we are going to start getting ready for it right now, I can’t wait to go through it with my teammates and with our coach.
“We’ll like it.”
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