BEIRUT

Basketball

Sagesse rebuild, resign key players

Rustom, left, put pen to paper along with Stephan, Akl and Bou Abboud.

BEIRUT: Sagesse are rebuilding in a bid to recapture the Lebanese league title for the first time since 2004 and have signaled their ambition for the new season after being on verge of disintegration. The team confirmed that Rodrigue Akl, Elie Stephan, Elie Rustom and Patrick Bou Abboud will be staying.The players signed new contracts for three years, as the Green Castle continue to recover from the infamous crisis which hung over the club for almost a year and threatened to dismantle the dream squad.

Other players, such as star center Julian Khazzouh, Daniel Faris and Philip Tabet, are also expected to put pen to paper within the next few days, as Sagesse’s head coach Fouad Abou Chakra scampers to make up for “lost time” ahead of the start of the domestic league in January.

The signings come despite the fact that all Sagesse players received their releases last month from FIBA due to overdue payments.

Abou Chakra knows that even though he boasts a fantastic squad, they will need to make huge efforts to catch up with teams like Riyadi, Amchit and Mouttahed, who have been preparing since last September and had the chance to compete in Houssam al-din Hariri tournament last month.

Sagesse endured a torrid summer with internal problems, but fortunately a last-second deal was struck last Friday, which has revived hope for a successful campaign this season.

Separately, a new friendly competition, Henry Chalhoub’s Tournament, will likely take place around Christmas as a tribute to the former Sagesse president who passed away last October.

The tournament will be another chance for local teams, particularly rusty Sagesse, to test their squads ahead of the Lebanese championship.

 

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