By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 5 February 2014:
Fireworks and car horns could once again be heard across the capital in celebration of the . . .[restrict]Libyan national team arriving in Tripoli yesterday for the second part of their triumphal tour.
The team received a hero’s welcome at Mitiga Airport from hundreds of fans who had waited for hours to see the champions. The team’s Afriqiyah flight eventually arrived at 4.30pm and the crowd went mad, shouting, waving flags, jumping up and down and pushing against security to try and reach the players.
As the players disembarked, the crowd started chanting their individual names amidst whistles and cheers. Goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnoush was the last player off the plane and the fans went completely crazy.
The welcome party featured high-profile guests, including former Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib. Abdul-Hakim Belhaj was also spotted standing in the special VIP area.
Traffic in the capital was bad all day, as people flocked to the airport, Martyrs Square and Sports City, where different celebrations were planned. By the afternoon, the Corniche was solid with cars and fans stood anywhere they could to catch a glimpse of the players as they proceeded through Tripoli.
“I can’t express how I feel today,” one elderly member of the crowd told the Libya Herald. “The team has achieved a success that a generation of players could not manage.”
Yesterday was the last leg of the team’s short but very triumphal tour. Visits to other towns and cities had originally been planned, but with players tired and some needing to get back to training, these were cancelled.