A four-man Libyan delegation that came to see and learn about hosting of major soccer events, says it is highly impressed at the way South Africa has become a model of hosting major sporting tournaments.
The delegation, led by Dr Makhlouf Mabruk and comprising former players and Ministry of Youth and Sport officials, has been in the country for a week gathering notes on how to host a successful soccer tournament. Libya is scheduled to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after Morocco in 2015. South Africa took over the hosting of the just ended 2013 tournament from Libya after the North African country had been plunged into civil war.
"I was amazed by what I saw. This visit will help us a great deal in our 2017 preparations. This country is world class and the people are extremely friendly, hospitable and the perceptions we had before coming here are contrary to the incredible situation on the ground. I have been all over the world but this country is one of the most organised nations I have ever been to," said Dr Mabruk.
Dr Mabruk said before coming here, he had heard stories of how unsafe this country was and that it was rife with diseases; perceptions he said were totally wrong. He said he was stunned at the beauty of the country.
"It is unfortunate these are some of the falsehood people are told about his great country. I will personally tell Libyans to take time and visit this wonderful country."
Dr Mabruk said he would ask for the South African expertise in the country's preparations for 2017 AFCON tournament.
"We have gathered lots of information from our meetings with several stakeholders including meetings with FIFA and CAF presidents, Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter and Issa Hayatou. We briefed the two of the status quo in Libya, how safe the country was after the revolution and also requested them to support the country's efforts for 2017."
He said with the assistance of Africa, the World and South Africa in particular, Libya would host a good AFCON tournament in 2017.
"What will make the tournament in 2017 different from the rest is because of Libya's geographical location. It is close to Europe, the Middle East and most of the outside world, so this will be the gathering of the whole world. My message to the football family is to come to Libya and see how nice the country is," he concluded.