Gor Mahia rallied to hold Al Hilal SC 1-1 in an international friendly played on Saturday at Martyrs of Benina Stadium, Benina Benghazi east of Libya.
The match was symbolic as the club sought to prove to FIFA, the world’s football body, and indeed the entire world that Libya is safe and ready for international football.
A huge banner written “Libya is a country of peace and good” was boldly mounted on the stands, a clear message of intent.
'Libya is a country of peace and good'.
— African Soccer Updates (@Africansoccerup) November 16, 2019
For close to a decade now since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi regime, Libya has been under FIFA ban and cannot host international games over insecurity.
Sectarian violence, which broke out in 2014 worsened the situation and led to suspension of the domestic league in April this year with clubs from Tripoli bemoaning increased violence.
Things are relatively better now especially in the east of the country where the game against Gor Mahia was staged.
— Gor Mahia FC (@FCGorMahia) November 16, 2019
The success of the meet especially in regards security, is a big plus to Hilal and authorities, who have been using sports to prove that Libya is safe.
At the end of the game the message was clear and loud, “lift the ban on Libyan stadiums.”
معًا لرفع الحظر عن الملاعب الليبية🙏
مباراة عودة الأمل من جديد 💙🇱🇾
— Al Hilal SC – الهلال الليبي (@alhilalliby) November 16, 2019
The message also came from the Kenya.
Thank you the good people of Libya for the warm reception…. pic.twitter.com/QMfxLPHBDK
— Odero Nyang ™ 🇰🇪 (@HonNyang) November 16, 2019