Serbia U21s will host two games against their Lebanese counterparts next month, as further build-up to their 2017 World Cup European Qualifiers. The matches will be played on 21 September at SC Inge, and four days later at Hero-Polet Jajinci.
The hosts will include in their initial 25-man squad, seven players who are in contention for the full national side (Miodrag Tomić, Relja Petrović, Aleksa Radić, Đorđe Stošić, Pavle Vojinović, Dario Abidinović and Dragan Janković), along with two who will step up from the U18s.
Serbian U21 coach, Admir Hadžić commented: “We have been together almost the whole summer, mostly training with the senior national side which is preparing for the WC Qualifiers in October. Training with the older players has made the U21s a lot more committed and motivated, and they are eager to showcase their development.”
SRLF general secretary, Slobodan Manak added: “We are so happy that we can host once again our great friends from Lebanon, as we have been touring in each other’s countries for the last decade or so. This will be another showcase for the up-and-coming players.”
The Young Cedars include Imad Chidiac and Raymond Sabat, both capped for Lebanon for the first time in Italy. Omar Knio was in the U18 squad that toured Serbia in July, whilst Georges Farah, George Yazbeck and Omar Marhaba were in the Lebanon U18 squad that toured Serbia in 2012.
Lebanon U21 coach Robin Hachache noted: “Preparation has been good, with a lot of enthusiasm and commitment from the boys.”
LRLF Performance Director Tarik Houchar added: “The recent Cedars tour of Sicily, and being crowned Mediterranean Cup champions, has brought back a sense of excitement to all rugby league players and the rugby league community in Lebanon. This will be our best youth on show and I am excited to see the progress they have made under Robin, alongside our new high performance coach Gabby Haddad.
“I know these young men will do their country proud.”