The Lebanese national rugby league team will now be coached by the award-winning Australian-Lebanese coach, Michael Cheika.
Cheika, who was the coach of the Australian national team (the Wallabies) from 2014 to 2019, has Lebanese ancestry, as his parents both emigrated from Lebanon and settled in Australia in the ’50s.
With that in mind, the 53-year-old Rugby Legend said that taking the offer to coach Lebanon’s Cedars had to do with returning to his roots.
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, the former player said the opportunity to represent his parent’s homeland was “unbelievable.”
“There is something about being Lebanese, you can never put your finger on it. I’m really born here but when I went there as an adult the first time we landed in Beirut, I really felt a strong connection to the place,” he added.
Cheika, who has won the World Rugby Coach of the Year award and is the only rugby coach to win the major rugby club competition in each hemisphere, said that he closely followed the Cedars’ run to the 2017 World Cup quarter-finals.
Now leading them, he has his eyes set on the upcoming 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which will take place in England on October 23rd and November 27th of next year, including 16 teams this time.
It’s worth mentioning that Lebanon’s national rugby league team was originally formed in Australia, composed of Lebanese-Australian players, before the game made its way to popularity in Lebanon.