Libya’s national team have arrived in South Africa but they will only be heading to Durban on Thursday‚ electing instead to spend three days in Johannesburg working on their conditioning at altitude.
Libya touched down at OR Tambo on Sunday night via Dubai fresh from a brief training camp in Cairo but under something of a cloud after reports that some players had been left behind for disciplinary reasons.
One of the top Libyan clubs Al Ahli Tripoli also refused to release players for last week’s camp in Egypt because of a dispute with the Libyan Football Federation.
New coach Adel Amrouche returns to the bench for the first time since the Confederation of African Football banned him for two years for insulting a referee when he was in charge of Kenya.
The coach is from Belgium but born in Algeria and an instructor with the Belgian FA where his past pupils have included Luc Eymael‚ now at Free State Stars.
Amrouche named 22 players for the match‚ including England-born Ahmad Benali‚ who plays for Crotone in Italy’s Serie B. and Ali Al Musrati from Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
There are also Muaid Ellafi from Al Shabab in Saudi Arabia and striker Mohammed Salih‚ playing in Bahrain for their league leaders Al Muharraq.
Locally based players are expected to be short of match fitness given that the new Libyan season only starts next weekend.
Libya’s domestic league only resumed last year after being suspended for several years because of the internal conflict in the country‚ where a state of civil war has existed since the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi regime.
This is the reason why both FIFA and the Confederation of African football continue to ban Libya from hosting any home games.
Not only the national team but also the clubs in the annual African club competitions.
Yet despite this drawback‚ Libya will from next year be able to enter two clubs in each of the African Champions League and the African Confederation Cup because of good results obtained by the teams over the past five years.