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Libyan golf fighting for survival amid tough conditions2 minutes read

Lack of resources and support from the state hampering the growth of a once vibrant sport in Libya

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Despite the ongoing conflict in Libya, golf enthusiasts in the country have tried to revive the neglected sport. At the Juliana Golf Course of Benghazi, local tournaments are held on a wasteland, covered with wild grass and stagnant water ponds.

Despite its poor condition, this course is considered one of the oldest on the African continent. The nine-hole course, which was established by British individuals in the late 1940s, is one of only three golf courses in the country. But the field suffered negligence when dictator Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and stopped the support for golf, which had been a very popular sport at the time.

Despite those cutbacks, the love for golf still exists and some Libyans have returned to practice after a decade-long absence. Abdelhalim Al-Hwiti was a professional golfer before he became a coach and represented Libya at several world championships, from 1983 to 2015.

He believes that the younger generation has good potential, but the lack of equipment and negligence for this sport makes it difficult for them to achieve their aspirations. Most golfers in Libya are mainly expatriates and many Libyans learned to play while caddying for the oil company executives who introduced golf to the country in the 60s.

In Tripoli, they play at the Tripoli Golf Club or the Tajura Golf Club, both 18 holes courses. There’s also a course in the eastern city of Benghazi and one in the oil refinery town of Brega. All the courses are all sand.

Libya is a land of incredibly rich history, with some of the best-preserved Greek and Roman ruins, as well as stunning Islamic architecture. The tourism industry in the country is essentially non-existent after decades of a repressive government and several years of civil war. And while much of the territory is occupied by the Sahara Desert, the strip of coastline on the Mediterranean has great potential as a resort destination.

The head of the Libyan Golf Federation in the eastern region, Mabrouk Mohamed, said that among the biggest problems faced by the federation is the lack of resources and support from the state.

Mohamed revealed that, although the country is considered rich because of its oil production, the Libyan governments and the Ministry of Sports show no interest in golf. Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Libya, like many other countries has suspended sports activities such as golf to limit the spread of the outbreak.

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North Africa Sports

Egyptian league to wait on government

The President of the Egyptian Football Association reveals that the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government

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The President of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Amr El-Gainany has said the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government.

All Sporting activities in Egypt have been suspended since 14 March due to the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world. In Egypt, the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise, as they are getting close to the 20,000-case mark.

The Egyptian FA president says they are prepared for any scenario as he revealed that the future of Egyptian sports is dependent on the decisions of the government.

“We haven’t taken a final decision regarding the future of sports competitions in Egypt,” said El-Ganainy.

“This decision will be made by the government but until now it wasn’t taken.

“We’re fully prepared if the government decides to continue the league”

“Even if the league is cancelled, we’ll be ready and we prepared several scenarios. We all want to continue the league unless the situation doesn’t allow it.

“In case we continue the league, the games won’t be played on the same pitches or the cities, as we want to limit the movement of the players,” he added.

El-Ganainy also gave an update on the health of the EFA’s technical director Mahmoud Saad who contracted the coronavirus after a meeting with some expatriate Egyptian coaches.

“There are no cases within the EFA, we took all of the precautions and we hope that Mahmoud Saad recovers quickly.

“Mahmoud Saad’s situation is improving every day. I want to thank him for his efforts over the previous year’s especially regarding dealing with athletes returning from abroad. He made a lot of efforts which exhausted him,” he concluded.

The former Zamalek coach will undergo the medical protocol cited by the Egyptian Ministry of Health and will take all the official cautions and measurements to face the virus.

The precautionary measures given by the government have been taken inside the EFA’s headquarters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the EFA’s Chief Executive Walid El-Attar.

The Egyptian Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi said recently that football clubs will resume training in June.

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North Africa Sports

Tunisian League to restart in August behind closed doors

Tunisian football federation announces the country’s football league will resume its season in August behind closed doors

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The Tunisian football federation has announced the country’s football league will resume its season in August behind closed doors. Matches were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Closed-door training will restart at the beginning of June, the Federation announced. It was initially hoped that Ligue 1 could be restarted in June, but the government rebuffed the FTF’s plan.

No further details were available on the schedule of matches or training, and the restart only relates to the top two tiers of the professional league.

The 2020-2021 Ligue I season is scheduled to begin in October.

Earlier in the week, the FTF in collaboration with the Tunisian health ministry published a strategy document on restarting football.

It says all players will have to commit to respecting virus prevention measures and state that they understand the risks, while assessments and medical examinations will be carried out before and during the competition period.

“The resumption of professional Ligue 1 will take place in August 2020,” read a statement from the FTF website.

“A certain number of measures will apply which has previously published and which will be sent to the clubs in the form of decisions. They will be published again to remind them.

“The 2020/2021 season for Professional Ligue 1 will start on October 24. The 2020/2021 season for the other divisions will start on October 31.

“The Cup matches will be scheduled according to the requirements of the general calendar.

“All the above-mentioned deadlines are always subject to the approval of the state institutions responsible for defining the general policy for the fight against the coronavirus in accordance with the requirements of the health and epidemiological situation.

“If the official meetings have not resumed in August, the federal office will announce the necessary decisions at the appropriate time,” the statement concluded.

Defending champions Esperance lead the standings with 44 points from 16 matches and are unbeaten this season. They are 10 points clear of CS Sfaxien in second, Club Africain and Etoile du Sahel are in 4th and 6th place respectively.

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Zamalek take down controversial “Real African Club of the 20th Century” billboard

Egyptian Premier League giants take down controversial billboard after CAF threaten club with sanctions

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Egyptian Premier League giants Zamalek have taken down a controversial billboard in the premises of the club after the Confederation of African Football CAF threatened the club with sanctions if the billboard was not taken down.

Zamalek stirred fresh controversy when the billboard went up, calling themselves the “real African club of the 20th century”.

CAF did not seem too concerned about the message on the billboard, but showed more concern about infringement of its image rights.

“Please be reminded that CAF … owns, on an exclusive basis, any and all of the rights related to the usage of its logo and visual identity,” CAF said in a letter it sent to Zamalek’s eccentric chairman Mortada Mansour, according to Egyptian media.

“Your club has used and placed, without any prior authorization from CAF, the CAF official logo on a banner within the club perimeters.

“Consequently, your club is hereby summoned: – To immediately cease the facts above by removing the CAF logo from all banners … and to confirm to CAF in a written reply, within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, its full consideration and respect of the above subparagraphs.

“Failure to strictly comply with any of the requirements above within the delays set forth, CAF will take all necessary measures and actions against your club in order to safeguard the CAF’s rights and interests.”

Zamalek said they will take down the CAF logo and put the message on the billboard back up, adding that they have no problem with the current CAF president Ahmad Ahmad but with the former president Issa Hayatou.

Zamalek believe CAF had unjustly given Al Ahly the honorary “club of the century” award 20 years ago.

The White Knights claim that CAF used a faulty system to determine the winners of the award as they had won a then record of four Africa’s premier club competition at the time while Al Ahly had just two titles then.

CAF’s coefficient system awarded same points to the winners of the African Cup of Champions Clubs (before it changed to the Champions League in 1997), and the winners of the Cup Winners Cup (now the Confederations Cup) which Al Ahly had won four times.

The new century has seen Zamalek trail behind Al Ahly who had a great run seeing them win the CAF Champions League six times, taking their tally to a record eight trophies, three more than Zamalek.

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