By Seraj Essul
Tripoli, 21 October:
Tripoli’s Al-Ahly football team has resumed its participation in the Libyan League and is due to play . . .[restrict]its next match on Saturday against Tersana, at the Al-Ahly home ground, Draybi, beside Sport City. The club withdrew from the competition following gun attacks on its Egyptian coach and a leading player, who was hit in the arm.
The change of heart came at a meeting of players and management on Friday at which it was agreed that there the club had made its protest about the two acts of violence and that there was no point in continuing the boycott of League games.
“Everyone understood that during games and training, we would do everything in our power to protect our people, ” said Al-Ahly board member, Muhammed Balta,”
However despite the decision, it was only today that all available members turned up to training. “Yesterday we had ten”, he told the Libya Herald, “today we had 22’.
Missing from the full squad of 25 were the team’s three Egyptian players who had gone home for Eid and not yet returned. Also still out of town is team coach Hossam Al-Badri who was fired on at his home by unidentified attacked on 12 October. Two days later, player Mohamed Al-Maghrabi was shot in the arm and had to undergo an operation to have the bullet removed.
Badri returned to Egypt saying that he would not return. However club owner Sasi Buown has gone with its chief executive Ali Al-Awsed to see if they can persuade him to come back. There were rumours this evening, which could not be confirmed, that the mission had been successful and that Badri had come back to Libya.
“We know what he went through and we appreciate the condition he is in,”said Balta, “and we are not trying to force him to come back.”
This is not the case with the three Egyptian players who, said Balta, had signed contracts and must return or they would face legal proceedings. One of Al-Ahly’s other foreign players, Ghanaian strike Kofi Bwadchi insisted that he wished to stay in Libya and continue to play for the club.
Meanwhile, said Balta, the club is still pressing the SSC and the Criminal Investigation Department to get on with their investigation into the two attacks on the team, as well as the threatening text messages received by other players. [/restrict]