Famous Lebanese Sports Personalities

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Boxing

Henry “Buddie” Lebanon (Lebenon) ; Represented South Africa in the 1928 Olympic games he missed a bronze  taking 4th place. He founded the Cedar-Radex Paint company.

“Papa” Mike Toweel: Was a promising amateur, who was given the chance to go to the trials to represent South Africa in the Paris Olympics. But his mother would not hear of it. He fought as a professional. He became a trainer, training many young South African boxers who won or fought for medals in the Olympics ,including his two sons Vic and Willie, who won a bronze. He trained his son Vic to win a world title. He is the Father of the greatest Boxing family that ever lived.

Jimmy Toweel: Known as the “ace body puncher” became the first of the Toweels to win a National boxing title. South African light weight championship. He also fought in England.

Vic Toweel: The greatest fighter ever produced in South Africa. Trained by his dad Mike he represented South Africa in the 1948 Olympics. He won both the South African bantam weight championships as well as the South African featherweight championships. He was the Empire bantamweight champion. After 13 professional fights he won the World Bantamweight Championships in 1950.The first South African to do so. He is the only South African to win an  undisputed world Title. He is still listed in the Guiness Book of world records for most knock downs in a fight when he fought Danny Sullivan.

Allan Toweel: Was a top amateur fighter. Winning his first 10 professional fights he had to quit fighting because of asthma . He became the greatest trainer ever produced in South Africa. He took brother Willie to a draw for a world title, trained Pierre Fourie for his many world title fights. He trained many South African national champions ,and many South Africans who fought for world titles.

Allan Toweel (jnr) : Son of Allan Toweel. Has a boxing gym in Johannesburg, where he trains many top Professional Boxers.

Maurice Toweel: Was South Africa’s top matchmaker. A fighter in every sense of the word. Polio left him in a wheelchair. As a teenager he boxed in his chair As president of Springbok Promotions he was a clever promoter and matchmaker. He fought the government to allow multi -racial tournaments between black and white boxers. He promoted the very first multi- racial world title in South Africa when Bobby Foster fought Pierre Fourie in Johannesburg.He traveled with his brother Wllie when he fought  overseas..

Willie Toweel: The most charismatic boxer ever produced in South Africa.  Won a bronze medal in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. Trained by brother Allan,   Willie won the Empire bantamweight title as well as won four South African national titles: 1954 South African bantamweight title, 1954 South African featherweight title, 1956 South African lightweight title and 1960 Welterweight title. 1955 he fought for the World bantamweight title which his brother Vic won in 1950. In one of the biggest disputed decisions Willie drew for the World title . He was the first South African to fight at Madison Square gardens in New York.He beat Lenny Mathews and became a household name in America. His last fight in Madison Square Gardens was against the World multi tile champion Emile Griffith. Willie trained many South Africans for world titles. 

Fraser Toweel: Youngest son of “Papa ”Mike Toweels six sons. Fraser was one of the most scientific boxers. His record of 25 wins and 7 losses. He lost six fights to Willie Ludick for the South African  welterweight title. Many feel he should have won the first fight against Ludick for the South African welterweight belt, which would have given the Toweels their 8th national title.

Patrick Toweel: Trained by his cousin Allan Toweel. Patrick won the South African welterweight title in 1968. Giving the Toweels their 8th national title.

Paul Toweel: Son of Fraser was a world rated fighter. He fought both professionally in South Africa and in Australia . he won the South Pacific middleweight title.

Johnny Toweel :Brother of Patrick was a professional fighter.

Tony Toweel: Professional boxer

Michael Toweel: professional fighter in Australia

Victor Toweel: Son of Frazer Toweel professional fighter in Australia won the  New South Wales Super middleweight boxing Champion.

Tony Habib: Cousin to the famous “Fighting Toweels” .Won the South African Lightweight title in 1952

Johnny Sham: was an outstanding amateur. He turned professional and was trained by Allan Toweel. He won the South African Jnr Middleweight title.

Peter Karam: professional boxer 1933

Paul Karam: Was a welterweight professional boxer 1950-1957 . 1948 South African Jnr. Middle Weight amateur champion. 1949 South African Snr. light Weight amateur Champion. 1950 was certain to represent South africa in the Olympics , but decided to turn professional.

Joe Rosella ; 1921 South African welterweight Champion.  1921 South African Middleweight  Champion. He trained many boxers and also ran a gym in Pretoria.

Charl Sam:  Springbok Boxer , represented South Africa in the 1958 Empire Games. He fought one professional fight.

Peter Louis Smith. Known as "The Sniper", son of former boxer Kosie Smith, mother nee Saffy (sister to Mike and Allan Saffy). He had 22 fights, won 20 (KO9) and lost 2(KO2).He won the Transvaal Heavyweight Title. He is now a boxing commentator, runs a gym and is involved in EFC(Extreme Fighting Championship). Now resides in USA.

 Sydney Towell: Cousin to famous Toweels. 1960 Won South African  Amateur Boxing Championships trials for Rome Olympics.
 
Ernest Chemaly: 1935 South African amateur Middle weight Champion. Was a contender to represent South Africa in the Olympics.
 

Boxing Trainers

Included as already mentioned. Joe Rosella, “Papa” Mike Toweel , Allan Toweel , Allan Toweel (jnr) Willie Toweel.

Steve Jacobs: Trained the first Zulu boxing team that went to the USA. He trained boxers at the famous Bobby Gleeson’s gym in Manhattan New York.

George Karam: Trainer Phoenix boys club  Boxing gym Pretoria Trained South African champion Jimmy Richards

Tony Karam : Trainer . Phoenix boys club boxing gym Pretoria  .Trained Jimmy Richards.

Tony Farah: related to the Toweels  was a boxing trainer.

Tony Anthony: Trainer at the Mayfair YMCA, taught many young boxers the art of fighting several joining the professional ranks.

Paul Cheketri: Trainer Mayfair YMCA ,trained many young fighters.

Special mention: The first world title fight ever to be held in South Africa at the Wanderers Stadium 1937 was between Petey Sarron a Lebanese American and Frddie Miller an American. Sarron won the world title. Petey Sarron (married to Pat Farah) and Vic Toweel (married to Julia Farah) are the only two Boxers of Lebanese heritage to win world titles and both were won in South Africa. The two Farah women were not related.

Soccer

Pierre Issa: Is the greatest Lebanese South African soccer player. He represented South Africa “Bafana Bafana” 47 times. He captained the South African team. He played for Marseille in France which won the 1999 UEF cup final, he played professional soccer in England , Greece and for Olympic  Beirut in Lebabon.

Des Backos: One of South Africa’s top players. Des played professional soccer for Highlands Park Rangers and Hellenic  .  In 1975 he was drafted to play in the USA for the Los Angeles Aztecs soccer team, his team mate was non other than the super soccer star George Best. Des went on to England and played for Stoke. 

Ricky Flynn: Played professional soccer for Highlands park. He and team mate Des Backos were known as the Lebanese twins.

Ray Tibshraeny : Play professional soccer for Bloemfontein United.

Fred Zackey: Played Professional soccer for Jewish Guild. He also represented South Africa in Hockey as a Springbok .

Willie Joseph :Professional soccer player for Rangers

Gaby Joseph: Professional soccer player.

Mario Tuani:  South American born Lebanese , world class soccer coach, who coached many clubs  in South Africa , i.e. Highlands Park,and Moroko Swallows.

Peter Jaffer: One of South Africa's greatest sportsmen. South Africa's top soccer player of his time , he received his Springbok colours , when he represented South Africa between 1935-1937 . He was known as the South African "Stanley Mathews". An outstanding cricketer as well , he represented Western province 10 times. He was voted South Africa "sportsman of the year" in 1950 and 1951. His grandson Mark Bass was a top PGA golf professional. Today Mark is a Horse trainer with his father the well known champion race horse trainer Mike Bass ( who trained Pocket Power to win the Durban July) .Mike is married to Peter Jaffer's daughter Carol. Was the coach for Hellenic and Cape Town City.

Eddie Shalala: Chairman Cape town Footballers Association .Admin Manager Hellenic professional football club. 

Mike Keyrouz: Played first division soccer for Rangers at 17 years old. He enlisted in the Transvaal Scotish during World War 2 and saw action in the Middle East and North Africa.  

Joseph Toweel:Played  professional soccer for Benoni United , later became a soccer coach.
 
Peter Germanus: Played soccer for Southern Transvaal

Johnny Germanus : Brother of Peter Played soccer for Southern Transvaal.

Joe (Joey) Manas: Played Professional soccer for rangers in 1959 and later for Southern Suburbs

Joe Backos :  Played Professional soccer for Highlands Park . Played Under 18 Southern Transvaal soccer.

Maurice Backos: Played table tennis in the South African championships.

American Football


Mark-Anthony Farah : Son of Author Anthony S. Farah plays college football (American football) for Tyler Junior College in Tyler Texas

Rugby:


Alf Adami :
Was chosen to play for the South African "Springboks" ( The only Lebanese South African ever to do so). A back injury kept him out of the South African Squad.

Jeff Basel: Played Natal under 19 Rugby.

Kevin Basel: Played for Natal Rugby he is Jeff Basel's brother. He later became an actor of stage and screen.

Roy Hanna: Transvaal under 19. Founder of The Video Town chain of video stores.

Jarrod Saffy: Born in South Africa . Plays professional rugby in Australia. Represented Australia  in the Australian schools team and Australian under 21 Team.

The Iron Game: Weightlifting , Powerlifting and Bodybuilding

 

Mike Saffy: Springbok weightlifter , represented South Africa.

Darryn Anthony:  Is South Africa’s greatest weightlifter. He represented South Africa in the 2008 Olympics. He is part of the Anthony family of Sprinbok weightlifters and powerlifters.

Jarrod Anthony: Springbok weightlifter, brother of Darryn

Andrew Anthony : Springbok weightlifter father of Darryn and Jarrod

Rodney Anthony: (Uncle of Darren) Springbok powerlifter was a world class powerlifter.

Pete Samra: Sothern Transvaal Mid heavy powerlifter.  Represented Southern Transvaal in Bodybuilding . Won the 1980 Natural Mr. USA and the Natural Mid-American bodybuilding titles. Inducted into Three Natural Bodybuilding "Hall of Fame". Developed The R.E.S.T system of training and has trained many natural bodybuilding champions.

Jefferey Zackey:
Bodybuilder represented South Africa in the NABBA world Junior Bodybuilding championships taking 4th place.

Micky Assad : 1912 South African Weightlifting Champion. 1919 won South African Weightlifting Championships. One of the strongest men in South Africa ,1913  He toured South Africa , challenging all comers as weight lifter and was undefeated.
 
Lawrence Pearce: 1945 Won South African Light- Heavy Championships. 1956 Won South African Weight Lifting Championships. Was known to have one of the Best Bodies in South Africa.

Raymond Germanus: Weightlifting champion who competed in the MR. South Africa bodybuilding Chamionships.

Hockey

George Elias (Alex) Kayat - Goal Keeper - South African Universities and Natal for many years. Was the favourite for the Springbok Team, but snapped his elbow at the trials.

Fred Zackey : (See football section)

Athletics and other Sports

Damon Rahme: South African decathlon champion . Springbok weightlifter.

Cheyne Rahme: Son of Damon won the South African jnr pole vault competition breaking the long standing South African record.

Jack Deeb: Springbok Clay pigeon shooting Champion.He was also a top artist.

Simon Gander: Springbok- South Africa Clay pigeon champion. Part of Two man South African champion with Jack Deeb.

Dr. Alec Solomon . Springbok clay pigeon shooting.

Eugene Kayat - Martial Arts. South African International 1983.

Allan Kourie: South African first class cricketer. Played South African schools and also played 16 times for South Africa. He was a Springbok in Cricketer  and a Baseball Springbok like his brother,Keith.

Keith Kourie - Brother of Allan. Represented South Africa  in the world baseball championships.

Graham Smith: Captain of the South African cricket team. Great grandmother is Lebanese

Fulton Allam: Top professional golfer , winning titles both in South Africa and the US .He  has won three PGA titles in America. In 1993 he won the NEC world series of golf  in the USA.

Lora Assad - Represents Texas State University in Golf.

Patrick Nasser: South African Judo champion who won his Springbok colours .

Patrick Joseph - Springbok JKA Martial Arts

Penny Cheketri : Judo champion graded to 1stKYU . Reperesented South Africa as part of the Springbok Judo team. She represented South Africa in many , tournaments   winning many medals. She trained in Okinnawa in 2003 she was graded Yon dan. She now lives in new Zealand where she runs a dogo.

Brent Kairuz: Springbok in Karate

Gerry Baker; South African bowls champion . He has represented South Africa many times Internationally.

Tony Samra; Bowls champion who was on the South African Lebanese bowls team to win the International championships.

Buddie Lebenon: Grandson of the Olympic Boxer Buddie Lebenon is a world renown scuba diver and enviromentalist .He was named after his grandfather..

Ken Hanna; Southern Transvaal colours for  badminton . Is a South African master swimming champion.

Allan Saffy:  Was a top South African motor racing Champion. He raced in the US and was offered many opportunities to continue to race, in the US .

Allan Saffy (jnr): Son of Allan  Saffy, South African sprint car champion

Cedric Saffy : brother of Allan ( and weightlifter Mike Saffy).  Is a South Africa sprint car champion and races against his nephew  Allan jnr. 

Fouad Shehab: 1914 Won the Muldersdrift speed Trial Championshipsin Motor Cycling also receieved the W. Reid trophy from the Rand Motor cycle club . He trained Joe Sarkis to become the greatest Motor Cyclist in South Africa 

Joe Sarkis: South African motorcycle champion during the 30’s. He represented South Africa in International racers like the "Isle of Wright" motorcycle championships. He was a pioneer of the sport in South Africa and put the Rudge motorcycle company on the map.  

Eddie Deeb: Clay pigeon shooting . Springbok like his father Jack Deeb.

Gus Bowley: 1936 Represented South Africa (Springbok),in the Empire Billiards Championships 

George Jacobs: Bowls 1949 Won South African Bowls singles Championships. 1950 represented South Africa ( Springbok) at empire games in Australia. Represented South Africa in New Zealand 1950 Bowls. Represented Pretoria and Transvaal in the following sports since 1922 : Hockey, Snooker , Soccer and Billiards.
 
Ivor Sarkis: Ice Hockey , 1951 Represented South Africa ( Springbok) against canada at Wembley stadium Ice Rink. Played First league Baseball. Was a 4 handicap golfer. Moved to live in Montreal Canada.

 
Gaby Zoghby : Brother of Emil dean Zoghby. Was an outstanding Baseball player. Gaby was a regular player for Transvaal. he played for South Africa against the American college side, was drafted to play for the national South African side , but was confined to the bench for the duration of the game. 
 
Jackie Moggridge ; Born Delores Sorour  , was the first woman in South Africa to make parachute jump. (4,000 feet).She was South Africa's youngest pilot of her time age 17 years. November 1959 was awarded Jean Bird trophy as Woman of the year . She flew Lancaster, Spitfire and other planes as a RAF pilot during world was 2. She logged over 4,000 miles in flying over europe, North Africa and Middle East.

Riaan Manser: First man to cycle around Africa - 2006 , First man to Kayak paddle around Madagascar -  2009. Won Adventurer of the year. Also paddled around Iceland. He is the author of many books.

Comrades Marathon

Joe Karam: (Schweizer Reneke): Ran the Comrades Maraton Durban to Pietermaritzburg 1924 finished 11th and won a silver medal. 

Tennis

Maurice Simpson: Tennis professional, South Africa and Europe. Now Lives in US

Horse racing

Jockeys
Robbie Sham: Top South African jockey. Won the Durban July 1992 
Bartie Liesher: Top South African jockey. Won the Durban July 1986
Craig Magua:  Top Jockey ,"The Craig Magua Handicap" is named after him.
Fareed Anthony: Top Jockey won the 2006 Durban July 2006
Duncan Habib  : Top Jockey
Donavan Habib:  Top Jockey cousin to Bart Leicher.
Donovan Mansour : Top Jockey , started late as a jockey,but spent a year in New Zealand were he learned his trade. 
                             He is the Grandson of Maroun Mansour and his father and Uncle Toby Mansour  
                             are both racehorse owners.

Race Horse Owners 
Mark Tarry: Horse trainer brother of Sean.
Eugene Sanan - Race Horse owner
Ron Akal - Race Horse owner
Anthony Maroun: Race Horse owner (Brother of Buddy) 
Jason Sham: CEO Horse power South Africa , sellers of Thoroughbred horses, is brother in law to the late Craig Magua.
Romeo Aboud: Chairman Chairman of the Bloemfontein race club.
Mark Aboud: Race horse owner. 
Kevin and Nadine Backos : Race Horse owners.
The Zackey family : Race horse owners.
Roy Hanna: Racehorse Owner
Leslie Michael: Michael Family . race Horse owner
Sean Hanna: Racehorse Owner
Alic Solomon: Early Lebanese horse owner, married to Alice (nee Samra) 
Trainers plus others
George Azzie: probably the most famous race horse trainer ever in South Africa He trained many champions. 
Herb Azzie: Son of George Azzie is also a top horse trainer.
Mike Azzie: Horse trainer  son of Herb and grandson of George
Adam Azzie: Horse trainer . Great grandson of George Azzie , is the 4t generation of  Azzie’s in the race horse training.
D Zaki:Race horse trainer.
Robert Maroun: Horse trainer.
Robert "Buddy" Maroun : Top horse trainer , son of Robert was know as The "King Of The Sprinters" 
Bradley Maroun : Horse Trainer (Brother Of "Buddy")
Tyrone Zackey : top trainer
George Mazaham: Race horse trainer
Sean Tarry: Top Racehorese Trainer has received global recognition for his training 
Mark Anthony: Top Racing Columnist 
Clyde Basel: CEO South African Racing Association 
Gary Alexander : Horse trainer son of top Jockey Duncan, mother Lebanese (nee Sadie).
Toufic Sanan: A top Racehorse trainer. 

Poker

Ray Rahme - World Class Poker player, finishing third in the World Series Poker.
Joe-Boy Rahme:  Winner World Series of Poker Africa
Warren Zackey : Winner World series of Pocker Africa
Jarod Solomon:   Top earner World Series of Poker Europe 
Marc Joseph:World series of Poker  top rated South African player
Martin Maroun: World series of Poker top rated South African player