Four members of Libyan football team defect

In major propaganda blow to Gaddafi regime's, several of the country's major sports stars publicly switch ranks to join rebellion.

By REUTERS
June 25, 2011 12:02
1 minute read.
Libyan rebels pose for a photograph

Libyan rebels 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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LONDON - Four members of Libya's national football team and 13 other Libyan football figures have defected to rebels, in a propaganda blow to Muammar Gaddafi, the BBC reported on Saturday.

It said national goalkeeper Juma Gtat and Adel bin Issa, the coach of Tripoli's top club al-Ahly, announced the defections in the rebel-held Nafusa Mountains in western Libya.

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"I am telling Colonel Gaddafi to leave us alone and allow us to create a free Libya," the BBC quoted Gtat as saying at a hotel in the town of Jadu. "In fact I wish he would leave this life altogether."

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Gaddafi has suffered a series of defections by military officers, diplomats and members of his government, but has resisted efforts by rebels backed by a NATO bombing campaign to dislodge him after four decades in power.

Bin Issa told the BBC he had chosen to come to the Western Mountains "to send a message that Libya should be unified and free", adding: "I hope to wake up one morning to find that Gaddafi is no longer there."


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