By Mohamed Assed.
Casablanca, 3 December:
The Libyan Football Teams Committee (LFTC) held an important meeting on 1 December to discuss future plans for the Libyan football team. Several crucial decisions were made during the meeting, not least a decision to terminate the contract of the German head coach of the Junior and Cadet Futsal teams.
In addition the LFTC decided on the following: the restructuring of the senior Futsal team, the appointment of new members inside the Libyan Football Federation (LFF) and the LFTC, the aggregation of a more reliable database of Libyan Football players who are practicing the sport either professionally or as amateurs inside the country as well as abroad, finding a new official kit sponsor for the Senior football team, improving the financial situation of the LFF, the creation of a new football age-category team (the Under-15 Libyan Football Team) as well as numerous other subjects.
The most important decision made by the committee however has been to try and lure an internationally renowned football coach with extensive experience on the African continent. The LFTC has so far made the decision to recruit former French football star and current coach Alain Giresse as the new head coach of the senior football team instead of Abdulhafeed Arbich. Giresse was French footballer of the year in 1982, 1983 and 1987. In August of this year, Giresse was awarded the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest award, for services to football.
Naturally an attacking midfielder, he was also an agile central midfielder with intelligent playmaking and fast pace. He was member of the Euro 84 winning team and formed part of the “Carré Magique” (Magic Square) in midfield alongside Michel Platini (current president of UEFA), Luiz Fernandez and Jean Tigana.
The LFTC is in advanced talks to recruit Giresse. According to Ahmed Al-Yazidi, chairman of the Libyan Football Teams Committee, the committee sent Giresse an initial contract offer of 25,000 Euros (LD 40,000) per month. The Frenchman has been notified should he accept the offer that the assistant coach will have to be a Libyan.
Given his acquaintance with the current Libyan players and the football environment as a whole in Libya, the most probable nominee for the assistantship position will be Abdulhafeed Arbich, the current head coach of the Libyan football team. Nonetheless, it is yet to be known whether Giresse will accept the offer. Just one week ago, according to the Senegalese sporting media, Giresse had been quoted saying, “I know there is something interesting to do with Senegal (the Senegalese football team). I know what it means to be a football coach in Africa. With Senegal, I would really love to be an active coach.” Giresse has had quite a successful coaching experience with African teams. He has previously coached Moroccan football club, FAR Rabat, Georgia, Gabon and Mali.
The LFTC’s meeting also discussed plans to include Eamon Zayed and Ahmed Benali officially in the Libyan football team, and talks are on-going with the Irish and English football federations. Zayed and Benali hold an Irish and British passport, respectively.
The 29-year-old Zayed started his senior club career with Bray Wanderers after starting with the under-21s of the same club. He scored the fastest hat-trick ever by a Bray Wanderers player against Dundalk in 2003 within a nine minute spell from the 7th to the 16th minute.
After spells with Drogheda United, Sporting Fingal and Derry City, Zayed signed a six-month contract with Iranian club Persepolis where his fame grew to outrageous heights amongst the club’s fans. On 2 February 2012 he came on as a substitute in only his second appearance, in the Tehran derby with Persepolis being reduced to 10 men and 2-0 behind.
He scored an incredible hat-trick in an eight minute spell and won single-handedly the derby for his club. He was chosen World Player of the Week after the Tehran derby by Goal.com. Persepolis fans began referring to Zayed as “Mr Hat-Trick”. Due to his great performance and popularity with the fans, Persepolis extended his contract for the new season 2012-2013. However, he decided to leave his team before the end of the season and on 24 November 2012, Persepolis and Zayed officially agreed to cancel his contract.
Ahmed Benali is a midfielder who currently plays for Italian side, Brescia. The 20-year-old Benali holds a British passport. He started his career in the youth team of Manchester City, and signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2010.In August 2011 he was loaned to League One club, Rochdale. He made his professional debut on 4 October 2011 in a Football League Trophy match against Walsall.His league debut came on 15 October 2011, in a 2–2 draw with Colchester United at Spotland.
According to Yazidi, the LFTC has also made plans to organise friendly games for the Libyan football team in preparation for the World Cup qualifier game against the Democratic Republic of Congo which will take place in mid-March. A friendly match will be played this Thursday, 6 December, against Guinea in Misrata at 15:00. Two other friendly games will be played against Ghana and Ivory Coast in the next few weeks in the United Arab Emirates as part of the Libyan football team’s training period in the country. Yazidi also said that Libya will take on Kenya in another friendly game next February.