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Sports Enthusiasts in Libya Adopt the Game of Rugby
12/08/2007 12:38:00
By: Thair Elheri

The gentlemen’s game of rugby seems set to take off across Libya with the arrival of the Tripoli Rugby Football Clubs’ Management team to the newly established Benghazi Hillal Rugby Football Club. On August 4, the Tripoli team player, coach and committee head, Tarek Benrewin along with team captain Abdul Kareem, visited Benghazi Hillal RFC for a training clinic.

Tarek explained that the event was organized not only to assist with training, but also to provide a presentation to clearly outline the future of Rugby in Libya. He said: “Although rugby is in its infancy here, we have begun by planting the seeds for the next generations. We don’t expect Libya to be in the World Cup any time soon but perhaps in ten years time, if we dedicate and support it, we will”.

The history of rugby can be traced back to England in the mid-eighteenth century with the first Rugby Union Club to be formed by Edwin Ash, Secretary of the Richmond Football Club in December 1870.

Since then Rugby has spread across the world with its governing body the International Rugby Board (IRB) based in Dublin Ireland. The first African rugby competition was a tournament held in Harare, Zimbabwe in May 1990. It was organised by the IRB.

Following on from this tournament the Confederation for African Rugby, based in Tunis, was established and currently twenty-nine African countries participate in annual tournaments.

Rugby first started in Tripoli in 1998 when the French School, along with a group of expatriate Englishmen formed a team called the Tripoli RFC.

We currently have just two rugby clubs in Libya, but the plan is to set up an addition club located in Misrata and a national side to compete in matches organised by the Confederation for African Rugby (CAR).

Tarek went on to say: “We hope to be working with both the Libyan Olympic Committee and the General Peoples Committee for Youth and Sports to establish a body to structure rugby in Libya to develop our players to a standard to be able to take part in competitions across Africa. We have high hopes for rugby to be recognizsed by these organisations because it is one of the most popular sports in Africa”.

The Tripoli RFC team is sponsored by such as Woodside Oil Company from Australia, which stands out as the largest contributor, Land Rover, Western Geco, and Total.

They expect further sponsors, in fact Tarek told The Tripoli Post: “We have currently approached Adidas, Coca Cola, Shell, Occidental and Pepsi. They have all expressed a great deal of interest to provide assistance.

“But the challenge of developing rugby in Libya is great and will require a great deal of financial assistance. We need players to start at a young age and also to play regular matches between our local teams.

“Thanks to our sponsors, over the last few years we have played abroad at least twice a year. Our last matches were played in Malta this year, when we took part in the Malta International Clubs Tournament 2007.

Abdul Kaream explained that he was not expecting such a high level of interest during the recent training clinic. It was attended by 15 new players. He went on to say that all the new players displayed courage and team spirit.

“We would all benefit from the experience and knowledge of foreign players attending. Rugby is a good sport that encourages cultural exchanges between local (Libyans) and the foreign players.

“At our club in Tripoli we currently have four foreign players, most of whom are here working within the oil industry.”

He said that expatriates interested to attend rugby training and matches, in either Benghazi or Tripoli are most welcome. Tripoli RFC currently train at the Nadi Shut on Sundays and Tuesdays after 8pm; Benghazi Hillal RFC train at the Nadi Hillal Sports Club on Saturdays at 6.30pm.

Tripoli RFC’s next tournament will be at the Arab Rugby Federation’s First Clubs 7’s Tournament at Doha, Qatar in December. The first Libyan inter clubs match, between Tripoli RFC and Benghazi Hillal RFC, is planned either before Ramadan of just after.
Comment:
good job, well done
Comment:
Great Stuff , wish you guys all the best .
Comment:
Hi guys, interesting article. I'm arriving in tripoli soon, and would like to play rugby (I've played since I was a kid). Does anyone have contact details for the team in Tripoli? Thanks, Ivan.
Comment:
For more information about rugby in Tripoli and libya contact : rugbyinlibya@gmail.com
Comment:
Great stuff.Played rugby with expats from Agoco and Brown &Root Companies in Benghazi.Club known at that time as Benghazi Mosquitoes.
Comment:
For more information about rugby in Libya contact me:
thairelheri@hotmail.com
Comment:
I was one of the expat guys who played for Benghazi Mosquitoes in the mid 1980's. Contact me if you would like to know more.
Comment:
I have clips of The British vs I think the Swedes 1973-74 at the British beach club. For anyone who was there. Just contact me.
Comment:
Hi Mark

I would like to know more about rugby in 80s..please contact me on this e-mail : rugbyly@gmail.com.
Comment:
Thair El Heri that is great job in Benghazi. form awed
Comment:
Keep up the good work Thair and Tarek. Libya Rugby Team will be a strong force in Africa someday and also will qualify for the World Cup in the future. Wishing you all the best and wishing the best for Libya Rugby.
Comment:
hi guys im the secretary of llanrumney rfc from cardiff wale,s u.k. we met and played one of your sides in the malta tournament 2008.we had agreat time with your lads.would love too hear from any of those players we met in malta.your teams coach was dutch.so contact me on the e.mail adress above
Comment:
Hey Guys, I would like to know pls, who's the First Rugby player in libya, and whos first Rugby Minder, thanks and good luck,
Comment:
I am coming to Tripoli very soon and have many contacts who may prove useful to you. What do you need?
 

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