With Just ten days to go to the first anniversary of the death of former Somali Football Federation President Said Mahmoud Nur and former Somali NOC president Aden Haji Yeberow, Somali youths in the central town of Galkayo are remembering the country’s sports developers with a two-week long football tournament which gathered 8 youth teams.
Organized by another young activist Abdi Qani Khalif Arabey the tournament is due to conclude on the 4th of April, the same day that the former leaders were killed in a suicide blast in Mogadishu which was claimed by the Al-Qaeda affiliated Somali militants of Al-Shabaab.
The 8 participating teams are from the north and the south of the city which has for over two decades been divided into two parts each controlled by a hostile clan-based administration.
This time young boys carrying footballs on their heads have crossed from the south to the north and from the north to the south of the divided city as football seems to be destroying the city’s green line.
The tournament inventor Abdi Qani Khalif Arabey who addressed at the opening ceremony of the competition spoke about the history of the two men and their commitment to the development of Somali Sports in their lifetimes.
“The former Olympic committee president was fully experienced in sport and had spent more than two thirds of his time in sport—he was a man of huge endurance and dedication and we will remember him. Likewise the former football federation president was a man of great humanity he was a business man who spent so much money in sport and as well as he was more popular in helping the vulnerable people like orphans and IDPs—we really lost two great volunteers” Abdi Qani Khalif told the young boys during the launching ceremony of the tournament On Sunday.
“I don’t know what I can really describe our slain football Federation Boss, he was a man who worked like the global organization ‘UN’ we remember his past activities including the regional football tournament for peace and development held in Garowe in 2010, a competition which gathered 15 regions across the country and helped the integration of people segregated by warlords for nearly two decades” Abdi Qani Khalif Arabey told the young boys.
Tears of agony fell down on the cheeks of the teenage boys when they heard about the history of the two men who spent much in the development of Somali Sports.
“Destroying a green line is not an easy job, I remember in 1993 when warlords were firing at us, as we were crossing the borders of the green line in Mogadishu—now the children are doing what we have learned from the past history and I am sure they will win in the attempts and we are supporting them in such fruitful endeavour” Somali Football Federation Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab said in a statement Monday.
“In one way the young boys are remembering the slain sporting volunteers and in the other way they are following behind the footsteps of the former leaders who successfully destroyed Mogadishu’s green line with the RESTORE HOPE FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT in 1993” the SFF secretary General’s press statement emphasized.
The secretary General urged all youth groups in regions across the country to do such integration competitions adding that Somali Football Federation was ready to help them. He praised the young boys in Galkayo for the tangible initiative.