Thursday Mar 16, 2023. 13:00
Libya have announced Hamdi Bataw as their new head coach ahead of two crucial 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Tunisia later this month.
Bataw has joined the Mediterranean Knights on a six-month contract and succeeds Corentin Martins, who left his role by mutual consent last month.
The Libyan Football Federation wanted a homegrown coach to take the national team forward and have settled on Bataw in a bid to qualify for AFCON 2023.
The 42-year-old insists his first order of business will be to tempt those players back into the international fold after deciding to call time on their Libya careers.
“First of all, it is a national mission and you do not need much thinking in order to make such a decision,” he 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 their decision to retire.
“Facing Tunisia in the qualifiers is the first thing that awaits us. It is a derby and not like any other match. The players understand that.
“I count a lot on the support of the Libyan fans in order to overcome the last period of failures and I will work to achieve that.”