Economic crisis brings Lebanese players to Jordan

Players, coaches and analysts share experiences, opinions with Jordan News

Ramtha player Majed Othman (Photo: Ramtha Club)
AMMAN — Lebanon’s ongoing economic and political crisis has driven several of the country’s athletes to head to the Kingdom’s football clubs; fleeing deteriorating living conditions. اضافة اعلان

For the first time in Jordan’s history, five Lebanese professional athletes will come on board various local clubs.

According to their official websites and social media accounts, the following clubs will be taking in Lebanese players: Al-Wehdat has signed Soony Saad and Ahmad Zreiq. Majed Othman has signed on with Al-Ramtha; and Al-Faisaly with Hilal Al-Hilweh. Sahab FC has signed with a Lebanese player whose name has yet to be officially announced.

Speaking on the phenomenon, Jordanian national team coach and former player, Jamal Abu Abed, told Jordan News: “I think the main reason Lebanese players have taken precedence this season is personal relations between the agents of Jordanian players and the Lebanese players themselves. The financial crisis has also driven them out of the Lebanese league in search of better alternatives.”

National coach and analyst, Othman Al-Hasanat, said this “experience” has shifted the aim of Jordanian clubs towards Lebanese footballers. Al-Hasanat explained to Jordan News: “I think the (positive) experience of national coach, Abdullah Abu Zema, with Lebanon’s Al-Ansar Club has (encouraged) him to promote Lebanese players in the Kingdom,” pointing out that Jordanian and Lebanese players share similar performance levels.

He explained that the direct impact of Lebanon’s financial woes on the migration of Lebanese players to Jordan cannot be ignored and recalled receiving several calls from agents asking him to take his pick of players from the Lebanese pro league, citing the instability that they continue to suffer through, their deferred financial dues and rising costs of living.

Lebanese player, Soony Saad, said the Jordanian league’s reputation and strength was the main attraction for him and many of his counterparts.

“I think the Jordanian league is strong, competitive and reputable. The crisis in Lebanon may have had a hand in bringing in more (Lebanese) players this year, but I believe that even in the absence of the crisis; Lebanese players would still find value in competing in Jordan,” Saad said.