Libya continues to play hide and seek with increasingly frustrated Bafana Bafana

21 February 2019 - 14:06 By Marc Strydom
The Libya and SA players pose for a group photo ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Durban in September 2018.
The Libya and SA players pose for a group photo ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Durban in September 2018.
Image: Anesh Debiky

As expected‚ Libya have delayed announcing the venue – Tunisia or Egypt – for their must-win final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Bafana Bafana until the very last day on Friday.

The SA Football Association (Safa) have been frustrated in their efforts to prepare early logistically in terms of travel‚ a hotel and training facilities for the qualifier on the weekend of March 22 to 24‚ where Bafana need a draw to reach Egypt 2019.

The match will be played at one of neighbouring Egypt or Tunisia because of a Fifa ban on playing in Libya due to the insecure security situation in the country.

And in a move that smacks of gamesmanship by the Libyans they have still not revealed the venue to Safa as Friday’s deadline approaches.

“No‚ no we are still waiting. Of course‚ Libya cannot play in Libya because of the unstable conditions‚” Safa president Danny Jordaan said on Wednesday.

“They always had a choice either to play in Tunisia or to play in Egypt. And they have not told us.”

Jordaan would not be drawn on whether he felt this was down to gamesmanship by the Libyans.

“Well‚ for us‚ we should concentrate on getting our team together and winning this match.

"The fortunate part is that most of our players who have had long-term injuries are back‚” the president said.

Safa had intended to send Bafana team manager Barney Kujane on a fact-finding mission to establish a suitable hotel‚ training facility and travel arrangements for the match well ahead of time at the beginning of this month‚ but were not able to.

Libya have played their two home games in Group E in Cairo‚ Egypt and Sfax‚ Tunisia.

Nigeria have qualified for Afcon 2019 as Group E leaders with 10 points‚ with Seychelles left to play at home.

South Africa are on nine points‚ and Libya seven. Bafana need a draw to qualify‚ and Libya a win.

The Afcon finals will be held in Egypt in June and July. Original hosts Cameroon were stripped of the competition over readiness issues.

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