Lebanon Calls Up Bitar For AFC Asian Cup
National team duty with Lebanon is looming for Vancouver FC forward Gabriel Bitar.
The 25-year-old midfielder has suited up for Lebanon before, making his national team debut against the United Arab Emirates just over a year ago.
The Vancouver FC forward had been called up by Lebanon on more than one occasion throughout the 2023 CPL season, but with none of those matches falling on a FIFA international window he stuck by his club to aid in their inaugural campaign.
Now firmly in his league’s offseason, the Ottawa-born baller is back in the national team mix. Following an individually-fruitful CPL campaign that saw the Ottawa-born forward tally six goals and five assists in Canada’s top flight, there are expectations that he could turn a few heads with a strong showing at the AFC Asian Cup.
Bitar and the rest of the Lebanese national team will depart for Qatar’s capital city tomorrow in preparation for the continental tournament. Placed within a group that features Qatar, China, and Tajikistan, they’ll square up in a friendly against Saudi Arabia on January 4 before opening their competition against Qatar on January 12.
Both of the Ottawa-born forward’s parents hail from Lebanon, with Bitar himself having considered club football in the country with Al Ansar back in 2021. He enjoyed a hot start in Lebanon before opting to return to Canadian pastures instead, signing with FC Edmonton last year, proving to be one of their top performers before doing the same with expansion side Vancouver FC this year.
The former Cavalry U SPORTS draft pick is no longer a secret in the CPL, where he’s not only solidified himself as a worthy professional, but an heavy-caliber contributor in Canada’s top flight. He’s under contract with Vancouver FC for 2024, where he’ll arrive back to Canada with even more high-level experience following the AFC Asian Cup.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques