African football team ‘lions’ dream of football glory in Libya camp

TRIPOLI: The Tajoura migrant camp on the edge of Libya’s Tripoli was the scene of a clash between lions: Teams of Cameroonian and Senegalese footballers whose dream is to play in Europe.

The Indomitable Lions and the Lions of Teranga took their names from those of their national teams, but the match had little of the atmosphere of African sports events.

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Played on a sandy pitch marked out by a low white wall, in front of a prison building, its only spectators were two prison guards.

The teams had been thrown together, their players selected from among 500 inmates who have languished in detention for months. The luckiest players had shoes, but others tread the makeshift stadium in their socks.

Fluorescent yellow bibs for Senegal, orange for Cameroon, the migrants took the game deadly seriously. After the warmup, hand in hand, they saluted their two spectators. After a few minutes of sprinting, dribbling and crunching tackles, sweat began to appear on the players’ foreheads.

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