By Mohamed Assed.
Tripoli, 14 January 2013:
Libyan football club Al Ittihad signed up three new Brazilian players on Saturday. According to an official statement on the club’s official Facebook page, the club has secured 28-year-old Rogério dos Santos Conceição former central defender of Portuguese second-league club Clube Desportivo Feirense, 24-year-old Mauro Lucas Dos Santos Alonso and ex-Le Mans striker Fernando Henrique.
It is believed that the new Portuguese coach of Ittihad, Jose Vidigal, personally recommended the Brazilian trio to the club’s administration as he personally knows the players. The Portuguese coach was the main point of contact between club and players as he successfully monitored the on-going negotiations with their agents.
The recent recruits are seen as a most needed addition to Ittihad’s squad ahead of the club’s important commitments in the few months to come. They are expected to be a force to reckon with in the club’s eleven when the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League starts in two months’ time.
Rogério Dos Santos Conceição
Rogério was born on 20 September 1984. He was signed from Portuguese club C D Feirense where he played as a central defender. The towering player (1.90 metres) will be a strong addition to Ittihad’s backline four in the forthcoming African competition. Before playing for C D Feirense, Dos Santos played for a host of clubs, mostly in Brazil and Portugal, not least of which was Santos FC (Pele’s legendary club) and Sao Caetano, both in Brazil.
Mauro Lucas Dos Santos Alonso
Commonly known as Mauro Alonso, he was born on August 12 1988. He was signed as a free agent and mostly plays as a versatile midfielder. Alonso’s most notable career achievement was when he won the Belarusian Premier League with the club BATE Borisov in 2010. He started his professional footballing career at the age of 17 when he signed his first contract as a professional with Brazilian club, America Futebol Clube (SP).
The 22-year-old Fernando Henrique was signed from French second league team Le Mans. He was playing as a striker for the French side from 2011 until now. He had never played with any other team apart from Le Mans. He also holds an Italian passport.
Tripoli-based Ittihad has been holding a training camp in Antalya, Turkey, as part of its preparation plans for the next CAF Champions League. In addition, the 16-times Libyan Premier League winners will also play a couple of friendly matches, not least against famous Turkish club, Besiktas J K.
Ittihad’s first game in the African continental competition will see them facing Tunisian team C A Bizertin in the first leg match in the city stadium of Bizerte on 15 February. The second leg game will take place in Tripoli in the second week of March.
An official delegation from the African Confederation of Football (“Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF)”) paid a visit to Libya to monitor the basic infrastructure of Tripoli in terms of hotels and football stadia to host visiting clubs’ delegations in the CAF Champions League.
The CAF delegation gave its OK to Ittihad and Al Nasr Club to host all of their continental return leg games against its African opponents. Both clubs are Tripoli-based and the sole participants from Libya in this year’s most important football competition in Africa.