22 October 2013

LIBIA : Al-Ahli Tripoli Face Down Security Threats

Al-Ahli Tripoli are back to training after the team pulled out of the local league following recent attacks on players and coaches.
Club chairman Sasi Buown met with players on Friday (October 18th) to raise their spirits and asked them to return to their training sessions.
Libyan international and al-Ahli midfielder Mohamed al-Maghrabi was shot in the arm October 14th, two days after three men opened fire on coach Hossam al-Badri outside his Tripoli home. Other al-Ahli players also reported receiving threats over text messages.
Last Wednesday, the Tripoli side suspended their participation in the Libyan football premier league and called for stopping the league altogether. They also demanded authorities identify those behind the attacks.
Buown and former al-Ahli and Libyan international Ali al-Asouad visited al-Maghrabi at al-Hadhaba Hospital, where he was receiving treatment for the gunshot wound.
"The legal and specialised entities are now investigating the incident," said Mohamed Balta, a board member and head of the club's media committee.
He noted that al-Ahli had signed many coaches from outside Libya to add strength and professionalism to the Libyan league and to all other sports. For example, Tunisian coach Ahmed Kefi started training the basketball team, and a technical team from Tunisia is training the club's volleyball team. The club's cycling and other teams are proceeding with their training sessions.
Balta said that al-Ahli condemned the attack, confirmed Libya's unity and stability, and reiterated the team's keenness on the return of Libyan football, therefore signing al-Badri and others.
He added that the club contacted the football federation and asked it to adopt a strong stance.
"The entities concerned must intervene because al-Ahli shouldn't bear all of it alone," he said. "Libya's sports may be targeted through al-Ahli, which is a big club with its own mark on the sports scene in the country."
Al-Ahli fan Ali Abdel Kader, 31, demanded that the youth and sports ministry, together with the interior ministry, protect players and stadiums, as well as co-ordinate their efforts to establish security and stability.
"This isn't about al-Ahli alone, but Libyan football in general," he said.
Youssef al-Tarhouni, a 27-year-old fan of al-Itihad, said that for the first time, "all clubs have shown solidarity with al-Ahli".
"In the past, we used to plot against each other. However, the incident is dangerous to football, and the youth and sports ministry must co-ordinate with the different agencies to establish security, especially as young people here want to see Libya in African leagues, qualifiers and world cup qualifiers in all sports so Libya's flag may be raised up high," al-Tarhouni said.
"The attack on al-Ahli Tripoli is a breach of law and security, and I think it's a black point that we hope to overcome. I hope we can stand on solid ground, as the country is suffering from the repercussions of revolution," Saloua al-Basir, a preparatory school math teacher said.

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