Tag Archives: Congo

Benghazi clashes, match moved to Tripoli

Photo: Michael Aron

Damiano Benzoni

Football normalisation in Libya encounters its first halt after the National team played its first International in two years on home soil on June 7th. The match against Togo scheduled at the Martyrs of February stadium in Benina, in the Benghazi region, on June 14th will be played in Tripoli instead after a protest against armed militias in the city of Benghazi turned into a clash between protesters and militias which took a death toll of 31. Similar protests took place, without incidents, in the rest of the country, under the slogan “Elections create legitimisation, arms create a dictatorship”. According to a Benghazian interviewed by William Wheeler of the Global Post, “what happened was tragic, but necessary—the only thing […] that [will] finally strip the mask off the militias masquerading as legitimate authorities”. Continue reading

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Libya’s coming home


Damiano Benzoni

Football’s coming home: after two years of absence caused by the civil war that brought down the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi, this week Libya will be back to play official football matches on home soil. Libya, which was allowed by FIFA to host matches again in March, will play its first post-war home internationals on June 7th and 14th, in two qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. Halfway through Group I, Libya is still unbeaten and is second in the table, one point behind Cameroon. In the first match, the Libyans will take on DR Congo at the June 11th Stadium in Tripoli, while a week later they will face Togo in the stadium of Benina, previously entitled to the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavéz and now devoted to the memory of the Martyrs of February, the victims of the Libyan civil war. Continue reading

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Olympic refugees

Damiano Benzoni

During the Parade of Nations he had carried the flag of his country with pride in front of the London Olympic Stadium. Few, seeing him, could have imagined that one Sunday morning Weynay Ghebresilasie, the flag-bearer of Eritrea, would leave the Olympic village to seek asylum at the UK Border Agency. A steeplechase runner, Ghebresilasie is only the last of a list of athletes who disappeared from the Olympic village. And while the Georgian judoka Betkil Shuk’vani, whose story we already featured, ran away in order to get back to his own country, seven Cameroonians, three Sudanese, four Congolese, three Ivorians, three Guineans and three other Eritreans made the choice to disappear and leave their country. The Olympic permits released by the UK Border Agency to the athletes and their families won’t expire until November 8th: only after such date does their permanence on British soil become illegal. LOCOG, the Games’ organising committee, underlined that, not having any of the athletes infringed any law or rule, it isn’t entitled to take any kind of measure against them. Continue reading

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