Home 2020 (Youth Team)
Source: Libyan Football Federation
It’s not always that easy to write a lighthearted introduction for my articles, especially when it’s a country that the Fragile States Index considers “the decade’s most worsened country”.
The situation in Libya has changed quite a bit in the last ten years:
While most people have always associated the country with quirky dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, the aftermath of the Arab spring have caused a caesura in the country. With al-Gaddafi killed in the course of the 2011 civil war, the fate of the country is still fiercely fought over by the House of Representatives and the Government of National Accord, causing yet another civil war.
Although not particularly successful, the national team’s current state isn’t as grim as the country’s development. During the 1930 – 1938 World Cups, Libya was actually competing as a part of Italy. Since their independence, the country hasn’t been able to qualify for World Cup, however, they took part in three Africa Cups and in 1982 even advanced to the final where they lost 7-6 against Ghana on penalties.
Libya’s football history even has a more peculiar story in store, involving camping-savy dictator al-Gaddafi’s son Al-Saadi. Only being mildly talented, he was nevertheless appointed the national team’s captain and a law was passed that forbade announcing the name of any football player with the exception of Gaddafi…
He also had a short stint in the Italian Serie A where he joined Perugia, Udinese and later Sampdoria. Despite employing Diego Maradona as his technical consultant and Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as his personal trainer, Al-Saadi only amassed a whopping two games in total, both as a late substitute. Italian newspaper la Repubblica aptly described his agility in the following way: "Even at twice his current speed he would still be twice as slow as slow itself."
It goes without saying, that football jerseys of war-torn countries are rarely easily available in the sports shop round the corner.
Fortunately, what many countries lack in political stability, they compensate by the sheer friendliness and hospitality of their people.
While searching for this rare shirt I came in contact with staff member of the LFF, who was extremely kind and obtained this gem for me. As it’s currently not possible to ship outside of Libya, he took the shirt with him, when the youth national team played a tournament in Tunisia and shipped it from there.
The shirt is kept completely in a weird orangy-red and strangely doesn’t have a back number. Apparently, the front number wasn’t applied correctly, and the shirt was therefore deemed useless by the kitman. I was positively surprised that it features a fabric badge, as many of the older shirts seemed to only have ironed badges.
This model hasn’t been worn by the senior national team, but was donned by a youth team in said tournament.