New Libya coach Hamdi Bataw targets AFCON qualification

Libya have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) only three times. Billel Bensalem / APP/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Libya's new national football coach Hamdi Bataw said his goal was to ensure his squad qualifies for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2024, in what would be only their fourth appearance at the tournament.

The Libyan Football Association appointed Bataw at the end of February on a six-month contract, succeeding Frenchman Corentin Martins. Bataw, a Libyan national, will take charge for an ACN qualifying double-header against group J leaders Tunisia on March 24 and 28.

"My goal is to reach the Nations Cup (finals). We must be realistic on the field. Tunisia is not an easy team, they have good players and performed well in the (2022) World Cup, but we believe in our abilities, and I have great confidence in our squad," Bataw told reporters on Monday.

Libya, who have qualified only three out of 33 times for the finals, have three points from two games in group J, one point behind leaders Tunisia. Equatorial Guinea also have three points and Botswana have one point.

The top two teams will qualify automatically for the finals in the Ivory Coast next January.