By Salah Takieddine
BEIRUT, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon will host the 29th FIBA Asia Cup from Aug. 8 to 20 under the auspices of President Michel Aoun on the grounds of Emile Nawfal stadium in the coastal Mount Lebanon city of Zouk Mikhael.
Following are the 16 finalists in four groups:
Group A: Iran, Jordan, Syria, India
Group B: Iraq, China, Philippines, Qatar
Group C: Kazakhstan, Lebanon, South Korea, New Zealand
Group D: Japan, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Australia
The opening game will kick off at 13.30 Tuesday featuring Kazakhstan and New Zealand.
All the games will be covered live exclusively through LBCI TV.
Lebanon, 43rd in the world rankings, reached the world finals on three occasions in 2000, 2006 and 2010.
Lebanon was crowned Champion of West Asia in 2000, 2008, 2012, 2015 and in 2017.
Head of the Lebanese Basketball Federation Pierre Kakhia stressed that the Lebanese national team is fully prepared to take on the competition.
Kakhia said, "We had rehearsal for the opening ceremony on Sunday to make sure that we wil be hosting this event at the highest standards that would reflect Lebanon's hospitality and good management".
Kakhia noted that the Lebanese team came back from Turkey last Tuesday after playing friendly games, "and the last was against the Turkish reserve team that will compete in the European Finals this year and the Cedars team won the game".
Kakhia whose federation is organizing the FIBA Asia Cup under the auspices of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, said that more than 50 percent of the available entrance tickets have already been sold "which reflects how truly the Lebanese are eager to watch the games in the stadium and enjoy the stability that the country is enjoying".
President Aoun who met Kakhia last week at the Baabda presidential palace, expressed his "joy for Lebanon hosting this great sport event".
Aoun said, "Lebanon that has found its political and security stability, will recover economically as well and hosting the FIBA Asia Cup is one of the many events that we have been hosting in Lebanon since last November."