Libya plans to build new stadium before CAN 2017

Reuters, Monday 8 Apr 2013

The hosts of the African Nations Cup (CAN) 2017 plan to build a 60,000-seater stadium

Libyan players
File photo: Libyan players celebrate with a Kingdom of Libya flag after wining against Mozambique during their 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifying soccer match at Petro Sport Stadium in Cairo September 3, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

Libya plans to build a new 60,000 seater stadium for the hosting of the 2017 African Nations Cup finals, sports minister Abdussalam Guaila told local media at the weekend.

A second stadium for the tournament, seating 23,000 spectators, is planned for Misrata. Matches would also be held in Benghazi, the Libya news agency reported.

The announcement follows fast on the heels of a decision last month by the Confederation of African Football to again allow continental club competition matches to be hosted in the north African country, which has been beset by civil strife since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan club Al Nasr were allowed to host Friday's African Confederation Cup tie against Morocco's Royal Armed Forces at home in Benghazi in the first competitive international match in the country for two years.

This followed an inspection by a three-man CAF delegation in March.

Previously Libyan clubs used neutral venues to host their matches while the Libyan national side has played both 'home' World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers in Mali, Egypt and Tunisia over the last 24 months.

Last month, Libya said it would use all its resources to ensure that it kept the right to host the 2017 finals.

The country had originally been scheduled to host the 2013 Nations Cup but the uncertain security situation in the country saw it swap with South Africa, who had been down for the 2017 event.

Hosting the Nations Cup would allow Libya to demonstrate that life has returned to normal in the country and encourage investors, Guaila told reporters.

"It's not only a sports event but an opportunity to move on from revolution to reconstruction of the state," the news agency quoted him as saying.

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