Al Mina RLFC have played their first game at youth level, going down 24-12 to the more experienced Tripoli Kings. It was the first youth club match in Lebanon, with all previous fixtures part of the schools’ competitions.
New north Lebanon development officer, Mohamed Mohsen (who replaced Nader Mgheit following his emigration to the USA) seeks to rebuild the club game in the region and has been working with six schools. A number of those children played for Al Mina in the historic first match.
“We have been working with schools and clubs in north Lebanon for several months now, to develop the sport,” said Mohsen. “The kids are loving the game. It was great atmosphere in Tripoli stadium where parents, fans and players all enjoyed a great day of rugby league.”
“It’s a great game and we can all benefit from it,” added Mohammed Hussein, the Al Mina captain. “We can really express ourselves in this sport, Rugby League, and we all have hopes of progressing.”
Tripoli skipper, Hussein Assad, concurred: “We all love Rugby League. It’s different to what we are used to in Lebanon but with further training we hope to get good enough to join the national squad and maybe one day play for Lebanon.”
The LRLF has plans to introduce a Club Youth Championship, in a separate part of the 2018-19 calendar to the schools’ competition, which currently continues in Beirut, with St Joseph’s topping the table at the mid-point, ahead of Antonine and Notre Dame de Louaize.
The senior season meanwhile is drawing to an end. The college second division was won at the weekend by Beirut Arab University, who defeated AUB Junior Varsity by 16 points to 12. The CRL division one, semi-final will be played this coming Friday, 27th April, when AUB take on NDU for the right to face defending champions Balamand, in the north, next Wednesday.