Rarely do you see a Lebanese player moving from the Lebanese league to Europe – like Roda Antar and Youssef “Dodo” Mohammad.
Today, we have a new player trying to make it in Europe: Hassan Mhanna. Mehanna is preparing with his team, Sevan Junior, for the new season in the Armenian second division.
We had the pleasure to sit with him for a quick chat about last year, his preparations for the upcoming season and the national team.
How is your time at Armenia so far? How can you compare it to Lebanon?
I was able to prove my worth in the short time I had before the stoppage of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That was enough for the management to ask me for a renewal and I accepted due to my very good relationship with the administration.
It’s very difficult here. People speak a language I do not speak; I’m meeting new people with a new mentality and from a different culture. It’s all different here, when you’re playing abroad.
We heard that there has been a change of coaches at your club. What does this mean in terms of objectives set for the season?
I’ve moved to Armenia last season thanks to the team’s ex-manager, Armen Salamian. Now he has been sacked and it’s a bit difficult for me. You know, when you’re starting a season with a coach you know his tactics, thus it’s very different than starting a season trying to get to know what the new coach wants on the field. Hopefully everything will go well.
The team’s objective is not losing a single match. It will be essential since we want to get the promotion to the Premier League. Also, we have our eyes on the Armenian Cup. We will play Ararat Yerevan (the club where Papken Melikian played more than 300 games with) on September 18.
In the end, I must work hard to prove myself in front of the new coach, Armen Shahgeldyan. He’s no stranger to Lebanese football as he has played with Ahed FC during the 2004-05 season.
Jamal Taha, coach of the Lebanese national team, has stated that he is looking to rejuvenate the selection. Do you think you can convince him at giving you a chance with the Cedars?
Each Lebanese player wants to represent his country. I am feeling very optimistic about my performances here. If the season goes ahead as I want it to, I think I should get a chance to play with the national team.