The Somali national football squad nicknamed the ‘ocean stars’ will be encamped in the Uganda capital Kampala for 15-day training sessions before the CECAFA senior challenge cup kicks off in Kampala on 24th of November, senior Somali Football Federation official said in a press statement on Tuesday morning.
Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab said in his statement that his federation will hold a colourful conclusion ceremony for the ongoing division A league and the General Daa’ud cup on November 7 and the national team will travel to Uganda on November 8 to start training sessions there. The local league will come to an end on 31st of October, while the General Daa’ud cup is due to conclude on November 6.
He said that the Somali Football Federation called 7 Somali nationals who play for teams in abroad to join the Ocean stars. Those include 2 from the UK 2 from the United States, 2 from Holland and one from Kuwait.
“Scores of Somali footballers living abroad have the right to represent their nation in international competitions so that is why we have called those seven members to join the senior national team” SFF secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab noted in his press statement Tuesday.
He added that Somali Football Federation has its own coaches and administrative representatives across the globe in a bid to boost up Somali football everywhere in the world since hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled the country and have been scattered around the world since Somalia fell into anarchy just some two decades ago.
The secretary General said that because of two main reasons the Somali Football Federation has decided to take the national team to Kampala. “The old soccer stadium is under construction by FIFA and the national facility the ‘Stadium Mogadishu’ is home to AU troops in Somalia and for those reasons we have to encamp the team in Kampala for 15-day training sessions prior to the CECAFA challenge cup” the SFF secretary General emphasised in his press statement Tuesday.
“The weather in Kampala is totally different from that in Somalia, so we want our players to adopt with that cold weather-financially the SFF is not strong as we only depend on the annual FIFA assistance which is not enough to cover all our needs, but we are trying our best to step with the rest of FIFA member federations who have governmental support or other assistances from local business companies in their countries” Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab insisted.
“We only get financial assistance from FIFA for all our activities including the division A, B and C leagues along with the annual General Daa’ud cup, football for peace programs, international and local courses and also the national team expenses” Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab said in his statement referring to media reports indicating that Local businesses help the football for peace program *’PUT DOWN THE GUN AND TAKE UP THE BALL’ *project that helped the disarmament of hundreds of former child soldiers in Somalia so far.
The secretary General said the SFF was very hopeful that the African Union command in Somalia will fulfil its promise to vacate from Stadium Mogadishu by December this year according to its spokesman earlier. “AMISOM have fixed an unspecified date in December to withdraw from Stadium Mogadishu and we are very optimistic they will do so” Abdi Qani Said Arab added.
Meanwhile, Somali Football coach in London Abdirashid Islow Ahmed told the media that two of his young boys will join the national team this year. “We do our training sessions twice each week, this year we have two players in the national team, while we sent three players last year and they exhibited well-most of our players are under 13 and we hope they will include into the U-17 next year so that is why we are sending only two this year” said SFF coach in London Abdirashid Islow Ahmed who will be in Kampala with the national team this year.