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Libya returns to the CAF African Nations Championship for the second time after previously competing in the inaugural tournament hosted by Cote d'Ivoire in 2009.
They failed to qualify for the 2011 edition after Algeria knocked them out on away goals rule despite winning 2-1 at home in the return leg match played in Tripoli.
Ironically, Libya were also paired against Algeria at the same stage for the 2014 qualifiers but this time around the latter made qualification to South African very easy for their opponents.
This is after Algeria withdrew from the regional qualifiers after failing to constitute a formidable team.
Meanwhile, the Libyan’s know they must do better that in 2009 when they failed to reach the knockout stage after finishing bottom of their group with two points from three games in Cote d’Ivoire.
Libya could not have dreamt of a better outcome than to win the 2014 African Nations Championship in South Africa.
Picked to host the third edition of the continental tournament for home-based players in the midst of political unrest, Libya was later forced to handover the organisation of the competition to South Africa due to security reasons.
Coincidentally, the Mediterranean Knights handover of CHAN staging rights to South Africa also saw them qualify for the finals via a walkover win after opponents Algeria withdrew from the qualifying race.
Furthermore, deprived of all local competitions for two years, an unfancied and inexperienced Libya travelled to Bloemfontein to battle with Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia and Ghana in Group C.
A 2-0 victory over Ethiopia in their opening game boosted their confidence thrusting the media-shy North Africans into the spotlight.
Libya went on to hold the Black Stars 1-1 before engineering an amazing come-back draw against Congo Brazzaville to book their ticket for the knock-out stage.
They might not have been the most spectacular side into the home stretch of the tournament but Javier Clemente’s boys showed unmatched determination and commitment to clinch their first -ever continental trophy after expelling Gabon, Zimbabwe and Ghana in three consecutive penalty shootouts.
Libya meanwhile, are set to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
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