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Nation Link's E-Maal Beats Singjet in Somali Stars Football Tournament Opening

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Somali Football federation has inaugurated the country's 2013 football stars tournament with Nation Link Telecom's E-maal team defeating their Singjet rivals by 3-2 in the opening match at the Somali University stadium on Monday afternoon in the presence of high profile government and SFF officials.

The first half of the hotly-contested match ended in 1-1 equality. But in the early hours of the second half, the Singjet boys scored their second goal as they took the lead of the match with 2-1 for a period of ten minutes.

But the Nation Link Telecom's E-maal boys stepped up their attacks on the opposite goal as they scored the equaliser goal before the end of the second half, and then the referee announced three extra minutes.

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However E-maal celebrated their win in the opening match after young striker Bashiir shot an ace ball into the opposite goal at the end of the last minute of the extra time. The winning goal came as the referee was about to announce the end of the match whistle.

Somali Football federation Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab who addressed at the launching ceremony of the tournament said his federation has three main objectives in organizing such tournament.

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"This tournament is much more important for us, because in one way it serves as a remembrance for our former president Said Mahmoud Nur and former Somali NOC leader Aden Hajji Yeberow. The second objective is to select members of the national team during the tournament and the 3rd important objective is to teach local companies be engaged in football sponsorships," Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab told the opening ceremony of the tournament.

He said 6 sponsoring companies are currently taking part in the tournament with each company sponsoring one of the six participating teams adding that the SFF was very hopeful that these companies will be a great example for other business companies across the country to follow behind them.

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"Only sponsoring companies who show commitment to football will be allowed to present their advertisements at our stadiums," said the secretary General who praised the six companies who are currently sponsoring the country's stars football tournament.

The friendly companies are: Nation Link Telecom Somalia, Lido Sea Food Restaurant, Singjet, Global Hotel, Jazeera Palace Hotel and City Palace Hotel.

Director for sport of the civil service development ministry and former national team coach Saa'id Mohamed Abokar praised the Somali Football Federation for the continuation of activities across the country.

"For a long time, Somali Football Federation was playing a key role in peace building and public integration. I mean it wasn't confined only to football development, but SFF played an important role in the stabilization of the country by disarming thousands of former child soldiers through football for peace activities. I hereby announce that Somali government gives more priority to football for inspiring the community," Mr. Abokar said on the behalf of his ministry.

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Somali football federation executive committee member and competitions department Chief Ali Abdi Mohamed indicated that his federation spent a lot of efforts in this tournament and in particularly getting companies to be involved in the competition.

He said nearly 100 footballers who were shortlisted from the recently ended division A and division B championships are participating in the 19 day-tournament during which the SFF technical department will make the last selection of the country's national team members who will then be engaged in special training programs.

"Twelve young coaches are leading the participating teams of the tournament. They are young and very talented coaches who benefitted from our courses in the past two years. We are really very proud of what we have done so far as our young coaches have been given the chance to show their professions," SFF competitions department chairman Ali Abdi Mohamed told the opening ceremony Monday.

For his part president of Somali Football Federation Ali Said Guled Rooble thanked the sponsoring companies saying that the history of Somali Football will always be remembered for becoming the frontrunner companies in terms of supporting the Somali Football.

"I urge the friendly companies to continue sponsoring football after this tournament has come to an ended by the 12th of April. I mean we want the friendly companies to continue their football involvement after this tournament. I know Nation Link had several times sponsored some events, but we urge the continuation of their involvement in football," president Ali Said Guled Rooble told the ceremony before announcing the competition was open.

Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar.

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