Libya Coach “Optimistic” in AFCON 2023 Qualifiers

Libya Coach
Libya Coach "Optimistic" in AFCON 2023 Qualifiers

The Libyan Football team’s manager, Hamdi Bataw admitted the difficulties faced in the recent match against Tunisia but still believes the Mediterranean Knights can qualify for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The national team will face Tunisia in the 4th round of the group stage, on Tuesday. The game will be held at Benina Martyrs Stadium, in Benghazi, eastern Libya.

Libya lost to Tunisia 3-0 in the first leg last Friday. “The Tunisian national team is not an easy opponent, and it has distinguished appearances in the recent period,” Bataw told Koora website.

“The opponent has distinguished players, who have played good matches in the 2022 World Cup,” he added.

“Our goal is to win this match. We rely heavily on our fans to support the Mediterranean Knights. Everyone must join forces to encourage the Libyan national team,” Bataw said.

“We believe in our chances and capabilities to qualify for the African Nations in Ivory Coast. We are not lacking, and we have prepared well for the encounter. I only demand the support and motivation of the players,” he concluded.

Last month, Bataw said his team “will do their best in their quest to qualify for next year’s Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast,” noting that his “most important task is trying to persuade a number of players out of international retirement,” according to the BBC.

The 42-year-old coach added that the Mediterranean Knights are seeking to qualify for their first Africa Cup of Nations since 2012.

Bataw has been appointed to succeed former Mauritania coach, Corentin Martins who lost his job after a disappointing African Nations Championship campaign.

He will work alongside assistants, Moad Aboud and Driss El Mrabet – and was chosen after the Libyan Football Federation expressed their preference to appoint a Libyan coach.

“First of all, it is a national mission and you do not need much thinking in order to make such a decision,” Bataw told BBC Sport Africa.

“I am no stranger to Libyan football, and I know what the fans aspire to. There are many things that I am working on, the most important of which is persuading a number of players to represent the national team, after they decided to retire,” he said.