Libya to go ahead with African Nations Cup qualifier

CAIRO - Libya will play in the African Nations Cup qualifiers this weekend but a match originally switched to Mali will now be played in Egypt, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Tuesday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 30 Aug 2011, 11:42 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:08 PM

Libya’s Group C meeting with Mozambique had been originally moved from Tripoli to Bamako because of the country’s security situation but has now been switched again, this time to Cairo. CAF said Saturday’s match would be played behind closed doors.

Libya has been gripped by six months of conflict as a popular uprising in February against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule resulted in a civil war.

A CAF spokesman said Libya had originally sought a postponement of the match because they said they could not arrange for players to travel from Tripoli, where some of the worst violence has taken place over recent weeks.

Since NATO imposed flight restrictions on Libya earlier this year at the beginning of the rebel push to overthrow Gaddafi, teams have had to travel by road from Tripoli to Tunisia and then fly onwards to various destinations on the continent.

Libya used Bamako as the venue for their last home match in the group in March.

The federation did not give a reason for the decision to move Saturday’s game, although the switch suggests Libya may have decided to use players based in Benghazi rather than those based in Tripoli as Benghazi is closer to Egypt.

Libya’s Brazilian coach Marco Paqueta said last week it has been originally arranged for the squad to meet in Morocco and spend 15 to 20 days preparing for the match but that this had proven impossible to organise.

Paqueta told Brazilian newspaper O’Globo he did now know whether he would take charge of Saturday’s match.

Libya trail Zambia by a single point in the group and still have a chance to take top place and qualify for next year’s tournament.

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