- in Science
For most internationals simply playing football is a full-time job that does not leave time for much else but that is not the case for Libya’s Ahmed Al Trbi.
Al Trbi is following in the footsteps of the Brazilian legend Socrates by combining a top level playing career with earning a medical degree.
The 27-year-old is now a doctor and has played more than 40 times for Libya, including helping them win the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.
But he admits he could not have done it without his parents’ backing.
“Football and medicine have been my hobbies since childhood and those were the goals that I set myself,” he told BBC Sport.
“Of course it is difficult for any footballer or any medical student, but my parents were supportive of me, and I finished my studies and have now started doing some days working as a doctor.
Al Trbi says that the Brazilian great has proved an inspiration for him.
“I was watching the Brazil player Socrates how to divide his time between study and training, this is difficult and needs a lot of effort,” he insists.
“But when you look at how best to spend your time you find that you can study as well as playing football.”
Instead of trying to keep the two careers completely separate he is trying to combine theme even further.
“At the moment I will concentrate on my football but after my retirement things will change,” he explained.
“I decided to specialise in sports and football injuries so I could the do my two careers in parallel.
“Football is a science linked to many fields, and medicine is part of it, so I decided to serve football even when I am away from it.
“When I retire I don’t want to be a coach so I will focus more on the field of medicine instead, but I am determined I will not abandon football nor medicine.
“At this time I am continuing my training and playing games with the national team and so that makes it very difficult to be associated with permanent work at the hospital.
“So instead I am now working at the Benghazi Medical Centre for intermittent periods and I am there only one or two days a week.
“Even if I play outside of Libya or move away from Benghazi I will take the same approach and it will not affect my careers.”
Al Trbi began his football career in 2000 with Al-Hilal Benghazi and eventually had a stint in Egypt with El Dakhleya.
He returned to Libya to play for Al-Ahli Tripoli in 2014 where he spent a season before going back to Benghazi and Al-Hilal. His most recent club was Tripoli’s Al-Ittihad and he is now looking for a new club.
He began his international career in 2013 and a year later played in every game as Libya won the CHAN in South Africa,
Four years later he was again an ever-present to help Libya finish fourth in Morocco, at the tournament for locally-based players only.