Seventeen of Libya's top football figures, including its national team's goalkeeper Juma Gtat, have defected to the rebels in an attempt to destabilise Colonel Gaddafi's regime.
The defection, which comes in the wake of a similar switching of support by parts of the country's military, will be seen as a propaganda blow for Col Gaddafi in an area that has a significant football following. Three other national team players and Adel bin Issa, the coach of Tripoli's top club, al-Ahly, have also defected. Libya's team is ranked 58th in the world.
Mr Gtat told the BBC that Col Gaddafi had "done nothing since he took over".
Mr Issa said Libya should be "unified and free," adding that he hoped "to wake up one morning to find that Gaddafi is no longer there".Reuse content