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Saba appointed Lebanon head coach

BEIRUT (2016 FIBA Asia Challenge) - Patrick Saba has been named as the new head coach of Lebanon's men national team.

His first order of business will be to ensure Lebanon qualify for the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge.

"My mission is to secure one of WABA's two available spots for the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge, but that won't be easy at all," he said.

Saba's appointment comes just a couple of weeks before Team Cedars travels to Jordan to participate in the 2016 West Asia Championship, a qualifier for the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge.

The WABA Championship will take place in the Jordanian capital of Amman from 30 May-3 June.

Lebanon are the defending champions, but will face stiff competition from the likes of Iraq, SyriaJordan and regional powerhouse Iran.

"The West Asia Championship is important for us and historically we have always been one of the top teams in it," Saba pointed out.

His appointment ended months of speculations as to who would replace departed Serbian coach Veselin Matic, who guided Lebanon to a fifth-place finish at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Lebanon won five of their nine games in Changsha-Hunan

"I never hesitated when I got the call. I'm a proud man, and I want to thank the Lebanese Basketball Federation for believing in my capabilities as a coach and granting me this privilege."

Saba wasn't yet the head coach when the Lebanese national team committee sent the 24-player candidate list to WABA. But he insists he would have chosen the same group.

"Most of the players, if not all, are very good players and I would've selected them as well," said the 45-year-old play-caller.

Saba, is now the third Lebanese to take up the coaching role of the Lebanese national team after Ghassan Sarkis (2003, 2011-2013) and Fouad Abou Chakra (2008).