Football: Libya playing in Tripoli for first time in 2 years

Tight security for Friday match against Congo

(ANSAmed) - ROME, JUNE 5 - There will be checkpoints and metal detectors at the stadium, but the return home of the national football team is a sign that Libya is heading towards normalcy again. On Friday the team will be playing on its home turf for the first time in two years in a qualifying match for next year's World Cup. The team will be going up against the Democratic Republic of Congo, against whom the Libyans saw a draw in the March away match. The North African team is hoping to qualify for a World Cup final round for the first time ever to celebrate their post-Gaddafi and post-civil war era. ''The two important games are those that will be played here in Libya - against Congo and Togo. We have a big chance,'' Anwar Al-Tashani told Reuters. Earlier this year Al Tashani, a lawyer by profession, was elected head of the Libyan Football Federation and has been working with the Interior Ministry for weeks to put security measures in place for the match. The Tripoli stadium will be watched over by the police and the army, with checkpoints on the route leading there and metal detectors to prevent weapons from being brought into the stadium. Libya stopped holding both international and national matches in 2011 and since then home matches had been held in Egypt, Tunisia and Mali. The only home match for Libyans on their path towards the World Cup 2014 was played in Sfax, Tunisia. Nevertheless, the exile failed to dampen the plans of coach Abdelhafidh Erbish, who brought back a valuable 2-1 win against Cameroon.. Following the match against Congo, there will be another one against Togo in Benghazi on June 14.Libya is second-ranked in the first round of the African qualifying matches for the World Cup 2014 with five points earned in three matches, one less than Cameroon. Whoever wins the round will play home and away matches to gain access to the Brazil World Cup. (ANSAmed).

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