A football team from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland is for the first time making a playing tour of Mogadishu in the Somalia capital.
The football fraternity is happy about the prevailing peace and atmosphere enabling top flight football in the country.
The visiting team is known as COMSED from the city of Galkacyo. Its chairman, Abdi Qani Khalif Arabey had facilitated a 22-man squad for the tour where they would play Dekedda FC on February 16 and national champions Elman FC on February 19.
The visit by the Puntland team started from 750km north of Mogadishu. The team was received at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport by Somalia Football Federation [SFF] authorities, before they were escorted to the Global Hotel.
End of year start
The team’s arrival in the capital was part of the ongoing preparations for the launch of Somalia regional level football leagues expected to start by the end of the year, according to the SFF secretary general Abdi Qani Said Arab.
“The security situation in the country is increasingly better. We shall take advantage of this to re-launch sporting activity in the whole of our country. This will foster friendship and development,” said Arab.
He said that every district in the country will have its own league, while the teams who top the district level competitions will be promoted to regional leagues. From the regional leagues the top teams will form a nationwide Premier League.
“The visit of COMSED marks a milestone. We shall identify all top teams from all our 18 regions in the country,” the SFF secretary general said.
“This will encourage youth integration and football promotion in all the regions; will pave the way for future regional leagues and enable the easy hunt for national team material.”
Already, during the COMSED visit, some experienced football coaches, led by the SFF technical director Awil Ismail Mohamed, have been appointed to scout for potential national team players.
A statement from COMSED football team leader Dr Abdulkader Mahmoud Jama, popularly known as “Dr Dhaga Adde”, who has been playing a key role in the football promotion in the entire country, said the aim of the team was to help youngsters to become professional footballers.
Said Arab thanked the doctor for his role saying: “On the behalf of SFF I express gratitude to ‘Dr Dhaga Adde’ for his commitment to the development of football in Somalia.”
The Puntland team was later given football equipment during a welcome dinner organised by Mogadishu Sea Port manager Abdullahi Ali Nur at the Lido Sea Food Restaurant in Mogadishu on Monday night. Many SFF officials, Division ‘A’ club chairmen, coaches and some key footballers also attended.
‘Dr Dhaga Adde’ said: “We are feeling brotherhood, friendship and being highly appreciated and respected. Our travel to Mogadishu is part of the ongoing football development in Somalia.
“We heard that some three ‘anti-football development’ individuals had misinterpreted our trip to the Somalia capital, but I tell you with a loud voice that fortunately the entire football-loving people in the Puntland State of Somalia sent us here with a message of support of our activities.
“We came from a part of Somalia and we are in another part of Somalia. We have been invited by our football federation and we are happily staying amongst our people here in the capital.”
He urged what he described as “some three anti-football development” individuals who spoke negative words in London to realise their mistakes and stop that kind of misinterpretation against the COMSED FC.
The SFF secretary said: “Dr Dhaga Adde is a health professional but he also plays a key role in football. He has buckled down to assisting his people in different ways. He has given scores of young boys a chance to become football players instead of falling into the hands of notorious criminals and warmongers in the country.”
He said COMSED had paved the way for more teams from other regions to come to Mogadishu as part of the preparations for the launch of the regional level football leagues.
The secretary general urged the country’s top Division ‘A’ clubs such as champions Elman and Dekedda to reciprocate and travel to Galkacyo to play COMSED.
In a quick reply, Mogadishu Port Manager and the financier of Dekedda FC Abdullahi Ali Nur announced that his club will soon travel to Galkacyo where they will have a friendly match against COMSED.
“We have had contact with the COMSED administration for years and now is the opportunity to plan a tour to Galkacyo. Hopefully, this will be as soon as possible.”
Other officials who addressed the gathering at the ceremony included: Elman chairman Abdulahi Gure and Dekedda secretary general Abdullahi Nur Bashir.