Players dead after Libya flood disaster

The devastating floods in Libya have claimed the lives of a number of elite footballers, according to the Libya Football Federation.

The floods, caused by Storm Daniel, resulted in two dams bursting, sweeping away large parts of the eastern port city of Derna.

The mayor of Derna estimates as many as 20,000 people could have been killed. Thousands more are reported to be missing.

The LFF has officially announced the deaths of four footballers in the region – Shaheen Al-Jamil, Monder Sadaqa and brothers Saleh and Ayoub Sasi.

Sadaqa played for Derna-based Premier League side Darnes, where the Sasi brothers were part of the youth team. Al-Jamil recently signed for Al-Tahaddi, another Premier League team in the city of Benghazi.

BBC Sport Africa understands that another footballer, Ibrahim Al-Qaziri, also died in the floods. He had played for several Libyan Premier League sides and was most recently at second-tier Nusour Martouba.

Darnes are one of two teams playing in Derna along with Al-Afreky, another club in Libya’s second-tier known as the First Division.

The club’s stadium, one of the landmarks of the city, has suffered significant damage in the flooding, having recently been rebuilt having been destroyed during the civil war.

In an official statement via social media, the LFF mourned the loss of the players and all victims of the disaster, saying “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return”.

The federation also announced it would suspend meetings scheduled to take place in coming days to allow it to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

A number of clubs in the country have undertaken humanitarian initiatives to help flood victims, including sending convoys carrying equipment and foodstuffs to the affected area.

BBC Sport Africa has learned that Libyan clubs Al-Ahly Benghazi and Al-Hilal have asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone their forthcoming matches in the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup respectively.

Al-Ahly are scheduled to play ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Al-Hilal are set to face Rwanda’s Rayon Sport on Friday, with Al Hilal club official Ali Al Sharif telling the BBC, “the situation is really not suitable for playing football in light of the disaster that befell us”.

BBC