Most Libyans share a passion for football far greater than that for tennis and traditional Arab sports. The domestic league championship is extremely popular, but the country is not (yet) ready to challenge on the international scene. The situation in which Libya
has found itself for many years could be attributed to the general isolation of the country. In recent years, however, this situation has improved and thereby opened new horizons for football in the process. Proof of this was Libya
's second-ever appearance in the African Cup of Nations after an absence of 24 years 1982, Libya
hosted the event and lost a penalty shootout against Ghana in the final). Since then, much has changed in Africa and some of the opponents who were once within touching distance are now part of the world elite. The Libyan government is a great supporter of football, calling upon famous coaches and experts to try and help the national team qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup?. Their efforts, however, were in vain. Nevertheless, a number of Libyan players have broken through onto the international stage, with Tarek El Taib and Gehad El Montasr, for example, plying their trade in Europe.