International football will
return to Libya on Monday when local clubs Al Nasr Benghazi and
Al Ahli Tripoli meet CSKA Sofia in matches that will mark the
first anniversary of the revolution, the Libyan embassy in
The 31-times Bulgarian champions will become the first
foreign team to play in the African country after the uprising
against Muammar Gaddafi's rule erupted on February 17 last year.
"We are very grateful to the Bulgarian team, who agreed to
participate in this historic event for Libya," the embassy told
Reuters by email on Sunday.
The Libyan league has been suspended since last February but
clubs have continued to play in continental competitions, by
forfeiting their right to play at home in knockout ties, which
were reduced to a single match at their opponent's ground.
The national team used Mali and Egypt as their home grounds
in the Nations Cup qualifiers but still managed to reach the
finals, which were co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
CSKA visit Libya for the first time since the 1960s when the
team took part in an international tournament.
The matches will take place at the "Benina Martyrs" stadium
in the eastern town of Benghazi, which is about 1,000 kms east
of the capital Tripoli with capacity crowds expected for all
Haitham Saliman Mahmoud, a member of the organising
committee, told Reuters by telephone that a three-way tournament
would be played on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Asked why a Bulgarian side had been invited, he replied:
"This tournament is organised by a political party and they have
business relations with the CSKA president so they offered to
play this tournament and he accepted."
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