Crisis-hit Lebanon qualifies for 2023 Basketball World Cup
Lebanon are ranked 54th in the world and last made it to the basketball world cup in 2010. They join Finland, Cote d’Ivoire and New Zealand as one of the first teams to punch their tickets to the 2023 tournament.
Welcome back to the big stage, Lebanon! 🇱🇧— FIBA Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) August 29, 2022
The Cedars return to the FIBA World Cup for the first time since 2010 after beating India and by way of a Philippines win over Saudi Arabia!#FIBAWC | #WinForLebanon pic.twitter.com/Mmw16LTbBW
The achievement offers some solace to the Lebanese people whose country is mired in an economic, financial and political meltdown that, according to some reports, has pushed eight out of ten people below the poverty line.
The crisis is widely blamed on corruption and mismanagement by the ruling class, and the World Bank said the country is suffering a ‘deliberate depression’ orchestrated by the country’s elites.
Team captain Wael Arakji wrote a scathing reply to Prime Minister-designate and billionaire Najib Mikati when he congratulated the team on a win in July, saying “we don’t need his congratulations” and that he should "keep his mouth shut."
The 2023 Basketball World Cup begins in August next year and will be hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.