By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 2 February 2014:
A tour of Libya’s towns and cities by the national football team in celebration of . . .[restrict]winning the African Nations Championship is expected to start tomorrow in Benghazi.
“The original plan was for the team to return to Libya immediately,” spokesperson for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mazin Dribeka, told the Libya Herald. “But the players said they wanted a chance to relax and enjoy celebrating their victory in South Africa before coming back to Libya.”
The triumphant team is expected to start their tour of Libya in Benghazi. Sebha was to have been an early point of call for the team, but it is not clear whether security concerns will prevent this.
Congratulating the team on their victory, the Ministry of Youth and Sports thanked the players, local clubs, the Libyan Football Federation and the Libyan people for all their support, said Dribeka. “This win was achieved through teamwork, it came from a joint effort,” he enthused.
“The Ministry has done everything to support the Libyan League,” he added. “We want football to do very well in Libya, so we are working on it step by step.”
The League, from which the players for the Mediterranean Knights were selected by coach Javier Clemente when he took up post in October last year, continues to play its 2013-2014 matches behind closed doors because of security concerns.
Dribeka said he hoped that politicians would start looking at sport from a different perspective and see how winning the cup would contribute to Libya’s bid to host the 2017 African Nations Cup. Libya was originally supposed to host this year’s African Nations Championship but the instability and security concerns led to the competition being held in South Africa instead.
After Libya beat Zimbabwe in the semi-finals, the government pledged LD 800,000 support for the national team, Dribeka said. The hope now was, he added, that after Libya’s victory last night more funding would be forthcoming. This, combined with the LD 750,000 prize money from the competition, would be a great incentive for the encouragement of professional and semi-professional football in Libya. [/restrict]