Benghazi Togo match moved to Tripoli
The international football authority, Fifa, has moved Friday’s World Cup qualifier match between Libya and Togo from Benghazi to Tripoli because of concerns about security following last Saturday’s killings in the city which left 31 dead and many more injured.
“Fifa emailed us on Monday to transfer it to Tripoli as a security precaution,” said Nasser Swaiye, Secretary General of the Libyan Football Federation, adding that on there had also been a meeting the same day with the Togolese ambassador. “Everything is fine”. Swaiye insisted.
However, it is not yet clear if yesterday’s attack on an Italian embassy car in Tripoli will change plans.
The Togo squad is due to arrive today but one of the team, defender Djen Dakonam, said yesterday that other members want to play elsewhere, especially given Togo’s tragic experience in Angola in the 2010 Africa Cup when two of its team died in an attack on their bus by terrorists.
“We are all appealing to Fifa to consider this and choose another venue outside Libya,” he said.
At least two members, Alaixys Romao and Jonathan Ayite, have said they definitely will not be coming, regardless of where the match is held in Libya. Romao has tweeted that he was going back to France to play for Olympique Marseille.
“If Togo don’t play, Fifa will penalise them,” said Swaiye.
At the moment, Libya sits top of Group I along with Cameroon, with six points while Togo sits at the bottom, although it should not be dismissed as a walkover for Friday’s match. It beat Cameroon three days ago in a home match in Lomé.
The Round One match between Libya and Togo, held in Lomé, drew 1-1 .