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Beckenbauer joins Libyan Africa cup stadium launch

26 February 2014, 20:31

Tripoli - German footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer attended a ceremony in Libya's capital Wednesday for the laying of the foundation stone of a stadium to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan laid the stone in an eastern suburb for a tournament Libya is determined to host, despite a raft of security problems plaguing the country since the overthrow and killing in 2011 of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

During the ceremony, Zeidan proposed that Beckenbauer become an ambassador for Africa's premier tournament, a role the man nicknamed Der Kaiser accepted, Libyan Football Federation chairman Anouer al-Tachani said.

The former German international player and manager is now chairman of the Bayern Munich advisory board.

Austrian firm PORR is building Libya's national stadium -- which will have a capacity of 60,000 -- on the site of a military camp of the former regime in the Tajura suburb of Tripoli.

Organisers say six stadiums will host matches in the 2017 competition.

Two are in Tripoli, two in Benghazi in the east and one in third city Misrata in between. Extension work is also due to be carried out in the capital's sports city area.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the CAF president, Issa Hayatou, have given their support for Libya to host the 2017 championship, according to the organising committee.

The North African country had been due to host the 2013 tournament but the revolution which overthrew Kadhafi in 2011 saw South Africa step in, ahead of its scheduled hosting of the 2017 event.

Last month in South Africa, Libya won the African Nations Championship, a tournament restricted to home-based players.

But despite the victory, the 'Mediterranean Knights' remain a lowly 14th on the FIFA African football rankings.

- AFP 

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