Libya have never before reached the finals of a FIFA Futsal World Cup. However, the North Africans are considered pioneers on the continent. They made their first official appearance at the African Futsal Championship in Egypt in 2000 where they beat South Africa 6-2, drew with Morocco 8-8 and were thrashed by champions Egypt 9-1. While Morocco and Egypt both had professional players based in Europe at the time, Libya did themselves proud with a squad of only local players.
The Libyans are led by Croatian coach Mato Stankovic, who previously worked with clubs Split 1700, Split Gasperov and Brodosplit Inzenjering. 'Mata', 38, orchestrated the end of Egypt's reign over the African championship as his side were crowned champions this year. This is the second time the Libyans have beat their Egyptian rivals; they also won the Arab Futsal Championship on home soil against the Pharaohs. The five-a-side version of the game enjoys solid support in Libya, and with enthusiastic fans who vigorously back their team, they will be fancying their chances at the finals.
Emerging as the new African powers has put a degree of pressure on the team, but the players and coach are looking forward to their first finals. Mata summed up the spirit in the camp: "It is a magnificent thing to qualify for the finals and I could not be prouder of my players. They gave everything they had and earned their place with heart and soul. Now, though, we will need to focus on the next job of showing what we can do against the best in the world."
Mohamed Shahout , Mohamed Rahoma
Libya won all three of their games at the African championship scoring 27 goals and conceding only eight.
The numbers game
1 - The number of African championships Libya have won and the number of times they have qualified for a Futsal world finals.