Football in Emsaed: Scoring for Peace!

December 17, 2023

Sports Centre, Emsaed

©UNDP Libya/ Abduladeem Ajaj

For Libya, football is one of the most prominent sports in the country, whether as spectators or players on the field – it’s always been a way to bring people together, young or old; people’s passion for the game of football is undying. And for the people of Emsaed, it’s no different. 

To increase people’s participation in sports and social cohesion activities in the farthest east of Libya, UNDP supported the municipality of Emsaed, to rehabilitate the sport centre and physiotherapy department, with funding from the European Union. The locality has a football stadium, a five-a-side football pitch, a physiotherapy hall, administrative offices, and a stadium that can host up to 600 people. 

The rehabilitation works focused on the rehabilitation of the structure, including masonry works, plastering, doors, windows, floors, and walls tiling works, installation of new sanitary fittings, upgradation of electrical networks and fittings, and the installation of outdoor stadium seats. The rehabilitation works created temporary jobs, contributing to the local economy while enhancing the stadium and allied facilities.  

Al-Andalus Club: Nurturing Young Talent for More Than Six Decades

Mr. Saleh Amawad, the Mayor of Emsaed Municipality

©UNDP Libya/ Abduladeem Ajaj

Al-Andalus Club has served as a hub for young athletes residing in the eastern region of Libya for six decades. According to Mr. Saleh Amawad, the Mayor of Emsaed Municipality, this stadium was built by the community around 15 years ago as a self-help initiative.

“For 60 years, players had to practice sports in the city of Tobruk, 150 kilometres away.” Mr. Saleh says. 
One of the coaches, Ahmed Al-Senfaz adds: “Thankfully, the stadium is now fully rehabilitated, allowing us to play on our home turf once again. It marks a significant milestone, as we can now play in our city without having to travel elsewhere.”

An outlet for the next generation

Among young people in Libya, playing football in the streets is a common practice, which can be hazardous and dangerous due to traffic, as they struggle to access safe football fields. 
Mansour Abdelkarem, a young player for the Junior Al-Andalus Club says:
“We did not have an proper field to play in. We used to practice sports in the street and makeshift courts. But now we play here.”

The Club Commemorates the Loss of Derna Members

The recent flooding catastrophe has not spared Al-Andalus Club, as they have lost two of their members from the city of Derna, which suffered immense loss of life and destruction in the wake of the Storm Daniel tragedy.
UNDP is committed to supporting the recovery and rebuilding of Derna and affected areas in the eastern region and is working closely with local authorities to support the recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Derna and other affected areas. 

Sports for Peace

Football's ability to transcend cultural and social divides, fostering a sense of unity and belonging among individuals, is a testament to its power as a unifying force. 

The shared love for the game, the collective pursuit of purpose and the bonds it creates become a source of resilience, providing these players with the strength and support to overcome adversity.

Sports can serve as a powerful tool to mitigate the adverse effects of humanitarian crises and advance peacebuilding in post-conflict environments.
Municipality Member, Ms. Najia Al-Lafi

A young player of Al-Andalus club taking a penalty kick

©UNDP Libya/ Abduladeem Ajaj

This initiative is implemented with generous support from the European Trust Fund for Africa through the programme "Recovery, Stability and Socio-Economic Development in Libya, Baladiyati (My Municipality), implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Libyan Ministry of Local Government, local municipalities, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).