Libya have parted ways with their French head coach Corentin Martins – setting their sights on a homegrown replacement to boost their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying campaign.
But the decision – said to be mutual – to end the deal early comes after a poor performance at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), the international tournament for African players based in domestic leagues on the continent.
“The committee members all agreed to choose a national coach from Libya,” the Secretary General of the Libyan Football Federation, Abdul Nasser Ahmed, told BBC Sport Africa.
Libya currently sit third in their Afcon qualifying group, having beaten Botswana but lost to Equatorial Guinea.
In March, they face a double-header against neighbours and group leaders Tunisia, and look set to follow the example of the five teams that represented Africa at last year’s World Cup in Qatar who were all led by coaches from the continent for the first time.
“We’re doing our best to choose a coach who will be capable to really enhance the level of the performance of the players, to encourage them and to give them a new spirit,” Ahmed continued.
“These two matches against Tunisia are very important for us in order to qualify. We hope that our players will do their best.”
Martins, who spent the majority of his playing career at Strasbourg and Auxerre, won 14 caps for France and previously managed Mauritania for seven years, helping them qualify for two Afcon tournaments including their first ever in 2019.
This year’s CHAN was staged in Algeria in January with the Mediterranean Knights failing to make it out of their group, losing to the hosts and the tournament’s surprise package, Mozambique, before claiming a consolation win against Ethiopia.
“(CHAN) was not really satisfying for any of us: media, public, for us as a federation and for Corentin Martins as well,” Ahmed added.
“(It was) a great effort to organise the team but unfortunately things did not go the way he wanted or the way we wanted.
“Therefore, we had a meeting with him and both agreed that we will finish this contract agreement with him on a very friendly basis, which was done.”
Libya, who were 2104 CHAN champions, have not qualified for an Afcon since 2012.