Clemente defies safety warnings to take over as Libya's new coach

Javier ClementeBy Mark Baber
Ocotber 9 - Just days after US Army Delta Force snatched high-profile al Qaeda member Anas al-Libi from outside a mosque in Tripoli, and amidst Libyan jihadi calls for the country's "courageous youth" to launch kidnappings of Americans, the Libyan Football Federation (LFF) has announced the appointment of 63-year old Javier Clemente as the new national team coach.

Clemente, from Spain, has agreed a two year contract and will take charge of team preparations for next January's African Nations Championship, CHAN 2014 in South Africa.

The Spaniard takes over from Abdul Hafidh Arbeesh, who stepped down after Libya failed to progress to the knockout phase of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers following defeat against Cameroon.

Clemente, who has previously coached the Spanish and Cameroon national sides said, "I have been handed the mission to put in place a good structure and environment to enable the building of a great team. I'm yet to understand the level of Libyan football. I will have to take some time to learn and adjust to the mentality of the people and philosophy of the game here."

Clemente has not been deterred by advice from western foreign ministries to avoid all but essential travel to Tripoli, or the recent indefinite suspension of the planned friendly between Espanyol and Al Ittihad, due to the security concerns expressed by the Spanish embassy.

Due to chronic instability in the country, the national league has not restarted since the overthrow of Gaddafi, but Libya still harbours hopes to host the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

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