CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Libya lifted its first international football title by beating favorite and West African power Ghana on penalties in the final of the African Nations Championship on Saturday.
Libya's penalty kings, coached by former Spain boss Javier Clemente, won 4-3 in sudden death in the shootout after it was 0-0 through 90 minutes and extra time at Cape Town Stadium. Libya also won penalty shootouts in the quarterfinals and semifinals in South Africa.
The African Nations Championship is the continent's lower-level tournament for home-based players, but that mattered little for the Libyans, whose best football achievement was watched by FIFA President Sepp Blatter at the former World Cup stadium. Blatter handed out the medals to the Libyan players.
Goalkeeper Mohamed Abdaula saved the first two Ghanaian penalties to help the North Africans clinch victory in a tournament they were initially meant to host but had to give up to South Africa because of unrest at home.
Ghana's penalty pain continued having been knocked out in shootouts in the semifinals at last year's African Cup and the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup.
Libya's best result before Saturday's triumph was reaching the final of the main African Cup on home soil in 1982, when it lost to Ghana on penalties. It handed over hosting rights for this tournament and last year's full continental championship following the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and because of the ongoing violence.