For the first time since 2009, Libya have qualified for the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, having a clear eye on improving their best performance, which was finishing on the 24th place 14 years ago.
Back then, the African side lost all the seven matches they played, scoring 156 goals and conceding 229, more than any other team in the competition at Egypt 2009. Since that moment, Libya tried to get back, but failed every time, before Germany/Greece 2023.
This time around, Libya have made it through their performances at the 2022 CAHB African Men's Junior Handball Championship, where they finished on the sixth place after being in a group with Egypt, Algeria and Congo.
They lost against the first two sides but clinched a hard-fought 23:21 win over Congo, which made them go to the 5/6 Placement Match, enabling them to snatch a place for the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship.
They could have finished on the fifth place in the continental championship but eventually lost on penalties against Morocco, 34:35, after the game ended in a stalemate (31:31) after 60 minutes, which still brings Libya plenty of hope for the future.
With a team composed of players featuring in the domestic league, the experience is definitely one key area that has to be improved before taking on a challenge like this one, yet the draw for Germany/Greece 2023 certainly helped a bit.
The start in their group in Hanover will surely be testing for the team, which is returning to the competition for the first time in 19 years, as they face co-hosts Germany, as huge underdogs, but the other two matches could see Libya exert some pressure.
Sure, they lost against Algeria at the 2022 CAHB African Men's Junior Handball Championship (23:38), but they know their opponent well. The other game in the group phase will see Libya measure forces against fellow African side Tunisia, which earned the bronze medal in the continental championship last year.
Key players: Wael Irwayhah (right wing), Almuetasim Karshman (centre back), Abd Araouf Alabasi (goalkeeper)
Qualification for Germany/Greece 2023: 2022 CAHB African Men's Junior Handball Championship – 6th
History in tournament: 2009: 24th
Group at Germany/Greece 2023: Group B (Algeria, Germany, Tunisia, Libya