By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 5 April 2013:
The government is planning to build a 60,000-seat international football stadium in the Tripoli suburb of . . .[restrict]Tajoura in time for the 2017 Africa Cup which Libya hopes to host.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Abdussalam Guaila, met on Wednesday with Tajoura Local Council and the local sports clubs to discuss the project.
Libya has launched a campaign to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and needs international-standard facilities to do so. It was to have hosted the Africa Cup this year, but the revolution put a stop to that and South Africa took over the job. The facilities were not up to standard, however, and it is alleged that Libya was awarded the honour of hosting the 2013 tournament because of Qaddafi’s influence on the continent and the use of Libyan cash.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi said that Libya would use “all its resources” to ensure that it was awarded the Cup in 2017, its 60th anniversary. He heads the committee that is trying to convince the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to agree. Former NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a keen football fan, has been recruited to the campaign.
Hosting the Africa Cup would allow Libya to demonstrate that life was normal and would therefore encourage investors to come back and take part in development projects, Guaila has said. “It’s not only a sports event but an opportunity to move on from revolution to reconstruction of the state,” he was quoted as saying. He wants both the state and the private sectors to invest in facilities for the Cup.
A second stadium for the Cup, seating 23,000 spectators, is planned for Misrata. Matches would also be held in Benghazi.
Libya last hosted the Africa Cup in 1982.
Late last month, the CAF agreed that Libya’s security situation was stable enough to allow it to host home international football games. The decision followed the visit by a CAF delegation who also met with Jalil in Benghazi
In his meeting on Wednesday in Tajoura, the Sports and Youth Minister was reported by the Libyan new agency LANA as also discussing how to support local sports clubs and in particular to create a women’s sports club. He also agreed to build a gymnasium club and establish a football school in the suburb. [/restrict]