Lebanese Women Basketball: “We have the right to represent our country”

11 Sep. 2015- Lebanese women national team was expected to participate in the FIBA Asia division B championship but unfortunately the federation cancelled the participation due to financial problems.

The national team could’ve easily qualified to the division A and classified among the best teams in our continent! It is not acceptable how the women’s national team is being treated, lack of serious work and attention is the main reason for what happened.

Aida Bakhos and Sandra Najem shared their thoughts and sent a message to the federation through their Instagram accounts:

Here’s what Aida Bakhos wrote:

It’s such a heartbreak to watch the guys national team get ready for their tournament, participate in different camps and travel to different countries to get ready.It’s a shame the federation didnt take one minute of their time to inform us that we wont be participating in the asian tournament.I speak for myself and i believe the rest of the girls agree with me that we deserve more attention and respect.We have the right to represent our country.I believe that we do have enough money to participate in one tournament since the guys got to travel to different countries just to prepare themselves.I dont understand how they expect the women’s league to grow and compete at the same level that the guys do if no one pays us any attention.We can at least start doing that by televizing the games.I feel so bad for the younger generation because they didnt get the chance to experience what i have experienced.All i have to say is keep your head up,never quit and keep on fighting.To the federation i ask you to please make more time for us.We are hungry to play and represent Lebanon as well.Basketball is one of the few things that brings us all together and make us forget about everything that is going around us

A photo posted by Aida Bakhos (@aidabakhosfanclub) on

  Here’s what Sandra Najem wrote:  

Sharing some facts about the women national Basketball team in our country. In 2009, in the FIBA Asia championship, Lebanon went for the first time in history from division B to division A. One of the main reasons behind it was serious preparations and attention from the federation. I was honored to be part of this accomplishment and being awarded the “Most Promising Player” in Asia. In 2011, our national team played in division A in the FIBA Asia Championship in Japan and won the Pan-arab games competition in Qatar. Unfortunately, I was out of the squad due to ACL injury. In 2013, Lebanon was banned by FIBA to participate in any international event after political interventions in Lebanese basketball which was obvious in the men’s league. However, the biggest victim was our women national team. Not participating in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship sent us back to division B!! Last but not least, 2015 FIBA Asia championship ended recently in China, our women national team didn’t participate and I wish knowing the reasons behind it. The federation was too careless that they didn’t even communicate anything about it. We’ve been hearing gossips going around like shortage of money while men’s team are going to different camps in different countries. It’s still a big question mark. Personally, I believe the biggest dream of any athlete is to represent his country abroad. When I got the most promising player in 2009, I was very proud, motivated and eager to play in the next Asian games showing how much talent we have in such a small country like Lebanon. But the discrimination and lack of attention by the federation have been blowing all that away. I miss getting goosebumps when the lebanese anthem is played and the flag raised high. Now I find myself hopeless, demotivated and sadly careless. I feel bad for the younger generation if this situation persists. I Hope the federation becomes conscious and responsible of their duties. We have the right to represent Lebanon and we have the right to know why we are not! Talents are wasted and dreams are crushed! #discrimination #enoughisenough #cantstaysilent #lebanesebasketball A photo posted by Sandra Najem (@sandrero14) on

We stand next to our women national team players and we ask the whole basketball community to give them the opportunity to raise the Lebanese flag high. “They definitely have the right to represent our country”.