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Libya wants Scoglio back to coach squad

© Reuters 2002

TRIPOLI, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Libyan soccer's governing body on Thursday reversed last week's decision to fire Italian Franco Scoglio and disband the national soccer squad, an official said.

"The Libyan Football Federation has rescinded the move to dissolve the national team and end the contract with Professor Scoglio," the official told Reuters.

The senior official said the Libyan soccer squad would fly to Italy on Saturday to resume preparations for forthcoming African Nations Cup qualifying matches. He added that Scoglio would be recalled to coach the team.

In their last three internationals under Scoglio, Libya have beaten Egypt 1-0, Togo 4-0 and, in their first qualification match for the African Nations Cup, they defeated Democratic Republic of Congo 3-2.

But the Libyan Football Federation said last Saturday that a crisis in the soccer body had forced it to take "radical steps", including cancelling Scoglio's contract and dissolving the national soccer squad.

It has said the crisis was prompted by the resignation of deputy chairman Al-Saadi Gaddafi, a son of leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Al-Saadi said in a interview early this month that he quit the federation because he wanted to focus on his own Al Ittihad Tripoli club and help other Libyan soccer figures to emerge.

Al-Saadi also plays soccer and was named last year as the best striker in Libya.

Repeated calls by soccer fans and other supporters had preceded his return to the federation leadership last year after he had announced his resignation.

"The new decision was taken by Al-Saadi Mummar Gaddafi," said the official when asked to explain the sudden shift in the North African country's attitude.

He would not say whether Al-Saadi would or has resumed his position at the federation.

But he said: "Al-Saadi would be with the team in the trip to Italy."

It was not yet clear whether Scolgio would agree to return to coach the Libyan side after his sudden dismissal.

Scoglio said last week he was sacked because he did not pick Al-Saadi as a player.

"With him in the squad, we were losing. When he left, we won," Scoglio added.

It was reported last month that Al-Saadi would be joining the board of Italian champions Juventus. Libya's Foreign Investment Corporation, the Libyan government's investment arm abroad, owns a 7.5 percent stake in Juventus.

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