BEIRUT: In a surprising move, Chabab Zahle club announced their withdrawal from the Lebanese basketball league, after seven rounds for the kickoff.
The team that was in only their second season in the first division, were rumored to have been seeking withdrawal before the start of the season, but individual efforts within the team management prevented this from happening.
“It’s sad to us, but we can’t continue under this [bad] circumstances we have” said Maroun Gebrayel, manager of the team.
“We’ve reached a place where we have only five local players practicing with us, it would be illogical to continue.
“It’s not hidden that we didn’t want to participate this season at all, but thanks to Mr.Wadih al-Absi who helped us financially, we decided to give it a shot, but it failed,” explained Gebrayel.
Head coach Charbel Dib resigned from his position a few days before the management decision, with Gebrayel reportedly saying: “He can’t work and many of his players do not attend the team practices, and nobody could control the American center CJ Giles who barely shows up in practices and arrives late in games.”
Chabab Zahle picked up seven consecutive losses in the 2011-12 season, most of which were by big margins, and it was just a matter of time before they dropped to the second division. This forced the management to give up early, in a trial to avoid more expenses.
However, their move once again raises the question about the way teams get their funds, especially the catastrophic ramifications induced when a wealthy businessman unexpectedly leaves their post. Currently prize money, ticket receipts, sponsorships and television money isn’t enough to keep a club afloat, ensuring teams have to rely on local businessman.