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Libya national football team

Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Mediterranean Knights
Association Libyan Football Federation
Sub-confederation UNAF (North Africa)
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Head coach Javier Clemente
Captain Ali Salama
Most caps Ahmed Sa'ad (66)
Top scorer Ahmed Sa'ad (16)
Home stadium Tripoli International Stadium
FIFA ranking
Current 105 Decrease 7 (1 October 2015)
Highest 36 (September 2012)
Lowest 187 (July 1997)
Elo ranking
Current 89 (31 March 2015)
Highest 46 (August 1985)
Lowest 124 (June 2003)
First international
 Egypt 10–2 Libya
(Egypt; July 29, 1953)
Biggest win
 Libya 21–0 Muscat and Oman
(Iraq; April 6, 1966)
Biggest defeat
 Egypt 10–2 Libya
(Egypt; July 29, 1953)
Africa Cup of Nations
Appearances 3 (First in 1982)
Best result Runner-up: 1982

The Libya national football team (Arabic: منتخب ليبيا لكرة القدم‎) is the national association football team of Libya and is controlled by the Libyan Football Federation. Libya has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, but has made it to three Africa Cup of Nations; the first was in 1982 where they finished runners-up as hosts of the tournament. The team's second participation did not come until 2006, which was the first time the side qualified without hosting the tournament. The squad failed to progress from the group stages in 2006, as was the case in their third participation in 2012. Libya finished runners-up in the 1964 and 2012 Arab Nations Cup and came third in the 1966 edition in Baghdad.

Libya's national team is considered one of the stronger teams in Africa and the Arab world, particularly in recent years. The good performances recorded in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations under Brazilian Coach Marcos Paqueta saw the team record their first win in the tournament outside of Libya in their final match against Senegal. This saw their FIFA world rankings rise to the highest it had ever been at 53, which later rose again to 36 in September 2012.


  • History 1
    • Early History 1.1
    • World Cups 1.2
    • See also 1.3
    • African Cup Of Nations 1.4
      • Libya 1982 1.4.1
      • Egypt 2006 1.4.2
    • Recent years 1.5
    • Post Gaddafi Era 1.6
      • 2012 Africa Cup of Nations 1.6.1
      • 2014 African Nations Championship 1.6.2
  • Rivalries 2
  • Honours 3
  • Competitive record 4
    • World Cup record 4.1
    • Olympic Games record 4.2
    • Africa Cup of Nations Record 4.3
    • All-Africa Games Record 4.4
    • African Nations Championship record 4.5
    • Mediterranean Games Record 4.6
    • Arab Nations Cup record 4.7
    • Pan Arab Games record 4.8
  • Recent results 5
  • Current squad 6
    • Recent call-ups 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Early History

Libya's national team was first initiated in 1918, but did not play an official international until 3 August 1953, when they defeated Palestine 5–2 in the first Pan Arab Games in 1953. The first manager ever to manage the Libyan national team was Masoud Zantouny, and the first foreign manager was Englishman James Bingham, who took charge of the Libyan national team for the 1961 Pan Arab Games. The first player ever to score for the Libyan national team in an official international was Mukhtar Ghonaay.

The first penalty ever scored by a member of the national team was in the 1953 Pan Arab Games group stage; in the match against Egypt, Ali Zantouny scored in the 3–2 defeat. The national team's first participation in the Arab Cup was in 1964, the second edition of the competition, held in Kuwait.

The first ever player to score for the Libyan national team in a non-official international was Mustapha Makki in a warm-up friendly played prior to the 1953 Pan Arab Games tournament, played against Palestine in Alexandria in 1952. The national team's first attempt to qualify for an Olympic football tournament was in 1967, where they played their first qualification match against Niger in an attempt to qualify for the 1968 Olympic football tournament in Mexico City.

World Cups

Libya first entered the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1970. Their early attempts failed, but during the 1980s the national side strengthened. The country's geopolitical position, however, affected the football team, who had to withdraw from qualifying for the 1982 and 1990 World Cups.

Libya came closest to qualifying for the world cup in 1986. They came to within a game of reaching the finals in Mexico. After winning their match against Sudan in their first game, the Libyans beat Ghana in the next round before taking on Morocco for a place at the finals. Morocco won the first game 3–0 and went through, even though Libya won the return leg 1–0.

After not entering the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup competition, Libya came back in the qualifying competition for Korea/Japan. The Libyans advanced to the second round at the expense of Mali, who were beaten 4–3 on aggregate.

In the group stage, Libya managed only two draws in eight games, however. The qualifying tournament increased the profile of Libya's captain Al-Saadi Gaddafi, son of national leader Muammar Gaddafi, and he received a contract with former Serie A Italian club Perugia shortly afterwards.

In the qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a 9–0 two-legged victory against São Tome and Principe put the Libyans through to the group stage. However, during these two games Al-Saadi Gaddafi was banned when he failed a drug test.

A difficult group followed containing Egypt, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire, the eventual group winners and qualifiers for the World Cup. However, The knights were able to secure good results against these sides, as they beat Egypt 2–1 in Tripoli, and held Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire to 0–0 draws, helping them to a 4th-place finish and a place at the 2006 African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.

See also

African Cup Of Nations

Libya 1982

The biggest football tournament to be held in Libya was the 1982 African Cup of Nations. Libya qualified automatically as hosts and were put in a group alongside Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia. The opening match of the tournament saw the hosts take on Ghana in Tripoli in a 2–2 draw. A 2–0 win over Tunisia and a goalless draw against Cameroon saw Libya topping the group.

In the semi-finals, Libya came from behind to beat Zambia 2–1 and set up another match with Ghana, this time in the final on 19 March. Ghana scored first in the 35th minute, but Libya equalised in the 70th. This was followed by a tense period of extra time in which no goals were scored. In a long penalty shootout, Ghana came out triumphant 7–6.

Egypt 2006

Libya's second African Cup of Nations saw a return to the higher levels of the international footballing scene at the 2006 African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt. They qualified for the competition after a goalless draw with Sudan in their ninth qualifying match.

Libya were drawn in Group A with Egypt (the hosts and eventual winners), 2006 World Cup-qualifiers Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco. Libya lost 3–0 to Egypt in Cairo, then lost 2–1 to Côte d'Ivoire. A goalless draw against Morocco saw Libya finish bottom of the group.

Recent years

Faouzi Benzarti became the coach of the national team in 2006. He failed to lead the team to the 2008 African Nations Cup, despite being drawn in what was seen as an easy group along with DR Congo, Namibia and Ethiopia; away defeats in Addis Ababa and Windhoek prevented qualification.

The next challenge for the Libyans was the qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They were drawn in Group 5 along with Gabon, Lesotho and Ghana: Libya were eliminated on goal difference after losing their final match against Gabon.

Libya had a chance to come back from World Cup misfortune during the qualifiers for the 2009 African Championship of Nations. They overcame Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco to go through to the tournament, but Libya finished bottom of their group after losing to Congo DR and drawing with Ghana and Zimbabwe. Benzarti was sacked,[1] and Serbian Branko Smiljanić was appointed on December 13.[2] In July 2010, Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta was appointed the head coach of the Libyan team, and signed a four-year contract ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.[3]

Post Gaddafi Era

Libya played its first match after the Battle of Tripoli (and thus the end of the Gaddafi era in Libya) on 3 September 2011, with a new uniform sporting the National Transitional Council flag of Libya.

The match, part of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign, resulted in a 1–0 victory over Mozambique. The historic goal was scored by Rabee'a al Laafi. Like Libya's previous home match, a 3–0 defeat of Comoros in qualifying, played in Stade 26 mars in Bamako, Mali, a relocation was necessary due to the ongoing Libyan Civil War, and so the Petro Sport Stadium in Cairo, Egypt became the venue. The match was played behind closed doors for security reasons.[4]

Prior to the team's final game in the qualification campaign, against Zambia, coach Marcos Paquetá claimed that the team was now "not only playing for football success but for a new government and a new country".[5] The match was played on 8 October 2011, and resulted in a 0–0 draw which was good enough for both teams to qualify. Paquetá and his team danced and celebrated afterwards.[6]

In November 2011 the team travelled to the

  • Libyan Football Federation
  • African Cup Of Nations 82

External links

  1. ^ 22 March 2009, LFF Sacks Fauzi Benzarti, Tripoli Post, Accessed March 22, 2009.
  2. ^ 2009-12-13LFF (Arabic)لجنة المنتخبات تقدم المدرب الجديد للمنتخب الى وسائل الإعلام
  3. ^ Brazilian Paqueta signs to coach Libya
  4. ^ 4 September 2011, Libyan football enters post-Gaddafi era, BBC News Online, Accessed September 5, 2011.
  5. ^ 7 October 2011, Libya eye unlikely qualification, BBC Sport, Accessed October 8, 2011.
  6. ^ 8 October 2011, Zambia, Libya make Nations Cup cut, BBC Sport, Accessed October 8, 2011.
  7. ^ 29 November 2011, Libyan National Football Team and the Libyan National Chess Team Reception, [SmugMug Sohail Nakhooda], Accessed 30 November 2011.


0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Mahmoud Idris (1988-05-03) 3 May 1988 0 0 Unattached
1GK Waleed Al Dirsi (1977-04-20) 20 April 1977 0 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
1GK Ahmed Azzaqa (1988-08-09) 9 August 1988 0 0 Al-Hilal
2DF Younes Al Shibani (1981-06-27) 27 June 1981 49 2 Al-Ittihad
2DF Muhammad Al Maghrabi (1985-04-19) 19 April 1985 30 0 Unattached
2DF Abdulaziz Belraysh (1990-07-12) 12 July 1990 18 0 Unattached
2DF Walid Al Sbaay (1983-03-28) 28 March 1983 14 0 Al-Ahly Tripoli
2DF Rabea Al Laafi (1991-07-24) 24 July 1991 7 0 Al-Ahli Tripoli
2DF Hamed Snousi (1989-11-03) 3 November 1989 4 0 CS Hammam-Lif
2DF Abdulrahman Al Amami (1984-07-21) 21 July 1984 3 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
2DF Ahmad Muhammed (1987-12-18) 18 December 1987 2 0 Al-Ittihad
2DF Suhaib Sulaiman (1991-01-19) 19 January 1991 2 0 Al-Ittihad
2DF Hashim Bin Dallah (1984-02-26) 26 February 1984 1 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
3MF Mohamed Esnany (1984-05-13) 13 May 1984 14 1 Unattached
3MF Marwan Mabrouk (1989-12-15) 15 December 1989 13 2 Al-Ittihad
3MF Djamal Mahamat (1983-04-26) 26 April 1983 12 1 Braga
3MF Abubakr Al Abaidy (1981-10-27) 27 October 1981 10 0 Al-Nasr
3MF Mohamed El Monir (1992-04-08) 8 April 1992 5 0 Dinamo Minsk
3MF Mohammed Shalabi (1990-06-22) 22 June 1990 5 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
3MF Osama Abdusalam (1983-02-23) 23 February 1983 2 0 Al-Akhdhar
3MF Nader Al Targhi (1989-08-02) 2 August 1989 2 0 Club Africain
3MF Ahmad Benali (1992-02-07) 7 February 1992 2 0 Palermo
4FW Ahmed Saad (1979-08-07) 7 August 1979 54 12 Club Africain
4FW Ahmed Zuway (1982-12-28) 28 December 1982 19 3 CA Bizertin
4FW Salem Aballo (1991-04-20) 20 April 1991 9 0 Al-Ahli Tripoli
4FW Éamon Zayed (1983-10-04) 4 October 1983 4 0 Sabah
4FW Abdulhakim Al Soudani (1991-10-07) 7 October 1991 0 0 Al-Ittihad

Recent call-ups

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Muhammad Nashnoush (1988-06-14) 14 June 1988 21 0 Al-Ahli Tripoli
12 1GK Hamza Alborjy (1993-03-04) 4 March 1993 0 0 }
22 1GK Khaled Elwerfelli (1985-10-05) 5 October 1985 0 0 Al-Madina
14 2DF Ali Salama (captain) (1987-09-18) 18 September 1987 24 0 Al-Ahli Tripoli
15 2DF Ahmed Al Trbi (1992-06-06) 6 June 1992 13 0 Al-Hilal
17 2DF Abdelrahman Fetori (1984-07-02) 2 July 1984 8 1 Al-Ahly Benghazi
3 2DF Elmehdi Elhouni (1992-06-19) 19 June 1992 6 0 Al-Ahli Tripoli
5 2DF Osama Chtiba (1988-09-27) 27 September 1988 6 0 Al-Ittihad
2 2DF Ahmad Al Maghasi (1993-02-10) 10 February 1993 5 0 Al-Ittihad
6 2DF Mohamed Al Gabsi (1991-01-14) 14 January 1991 0 0 Al-Hilal
18 3MF Faisal Al Badri (1990-06-04) 4 June 1990 18 5 Al-Hilal
4 3MF Ahmed Al Alwani (1981-08-19) 19 August 1981 9 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
13 3MF Motasem Sabbou (1993-08-20) 20 August 1993 8 0 Al-Ittihad
7 3MF Motaz Al Mahdi (1990-08-09) 9 August 1990 6 0 Al-Ahly Benghazi
8 3MF Mohamed Elgadi (1990-06-22) 22 June 1990 6 0 Vitória Setúbal
16 3MF Almoatasembellah Mohamed (1996-04-06) 6 April 1996 5 0 Al-Ittihad
23 3MF Ali Taher Elhadi (1991-03-12) 12 March 1991 2 0 Al-Olympic
11 3MF Mohamed Mahfud (1991-07-10) 10 July 1991 1 0 Al-Ittihad
9 4FW Mohamed Al Ghanodi (1992-11-22) 22 November 1992 17 2 Al-Ahli Tripoli
21 4FW Abdelsalam Omar (1993-07-22) 22 July 1993 7 3 Al-Hilal
19 4FW Elmutasem Abushnaf (1991-11-14) 14 November 1991 6 1 Al-Wahda
10 4FW Moayed Al Khritli (1993-07-28) 28 July 1993 3 0 Al-Wahda
20 4FW Anis Saltou (1992-04-01) 1 April 1992 2 0 Al-Madina

Cap and goals updated as 19 October Note: Caps and goals may be incomplete for certain players, therefore being inaccurate.

The following squad has been selected for the 2014 African Nations Championship.

Current squad

Recent results

Competitive record

African Nations Championship:

Arab Cup of Nations:

Africa Cup of Nations:


Libya's last clash with Morocco was at the 2006 African Nations Cup, where it finished goalless (However, Libya also recently contested a fiery two-legged play-off tie for the 2009 African Championship of Nations, which Libya won 4–3 on aggregate). The height of the rivalry was in the 1980s, where a strong Libya side had its World Cup '86 dreams crushed by a resurgent Morocco side. The Moroccans won the play-off 3–1 on aggregate, and progressed to the knockout stage, where they were defeated by West Germany.

Libya's only real rivalries are with its fellow North African footballing nations, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and, mainly, Tunisia. Matches between Libya and any one of these opponents are highly charged encounters. Libya defeated Egypt 2–1 in a World Cup qualifier on 8 October 2004, the Pharaohs never managed to beat the Libyans on their own turf. The rivalry was rekindled at the 2007 Pan Arab Games, where the teams drew 0–0; Egypt eventually claimed the gold medal on goal difference from the Libyans.


Libya drew against Ghana in a very tough and tiring match. Extra time was given ( two 15 minutes), however both teams failed to score. It was taken to penalty shootouts, where the Libyan team scored the first three penalties, missed two others and scored the final sixth (making it 4 in total, that they scored) and their Ghanaian opponents missed the first two, scored the next three then missed the final sixth penalty (resulting in 3 penalties scored). The match finished (0-0) and was won by the Mediterranean Knights by penalties (4-3).

2014 African Nations Championship

With six members of the squad aged 30 and above, notably Samir Aboud, for whom the match against Senegal brought down the curtain on a long international career, the focus now turns to the future of Libyan football; although domestic football has yet to be rescheduled following a year-long hiatus, qualification for next year's Cup of Nations could see a new-look Libya side enter the fray in South Africa.

The team will certainly learn from such an experience, however; despite a fairly conservative approach in the opening match, Libya began to offer more going forward, with Ahmed Sa'ad winning the man of the match award for the games against Zambia and Senegal as he showcased his obvious talent on a continental and global stage.

The Mediterranean Knights' first game, the tournament's opening match, saw them lose to an 87th-minute winner from ex-Real Madrid winger Javier Ángel Balboa. Despite this setback, Libya's performances improved as the tournament went on; they went on to secure a 2–2 draw with Zambia in terrible conditions at the Estadio de Bata, before a brace from Ihaab al Bousseffi guided them to a famous 2–1 victory over Senegal, their first Nations Cup win in 30 years and a first on foreign soil. A respectable return of four points from three games was, sadly, not enough for Libya to progress, as they bowed out at the group stage.

Having qualified, Libya were drawn into Group A with co-hosts Equatorial Guinea, qualification rivals Zambia and pre-tournament favourites Senegal, Paquetá's men faced a tough task in progressing from the group.

2012 Africa Cup of Nations

On 7 June 2013, Libya met DR Congo on its first match on home ground in two years.


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