For the 3rd year running, Gift of the Givers basketball team won Somali Basketball league, after defeating Heegan basketball team 69-51 in the final match played at Wiish National basketball stadium on Friday.
Established in 2018, Gift of the givers basketball club, has dominated the country’s basketball for the past three years winning all national league titles together with General Daa’uud Cup which is the second most populous sporting event played in the country and held in the commemoration of the Somali National Army founder, General Daa’uud Abdulle Hersi.
Gift of the givers made a big name last year when its women’s basketball team finished 3rd place in the Arab Women’s Championship held in Morocco, marking the surprise come back of Somalia’s female basketball power.
Other Sports Gift of the Givers Is Involved In
Financed by the South Africa-based charity, Gift of the Givers, the club, was named after its financers and it is involved in different sporting events both boys and girls. Gift of the givers teams play in Somali national leagues of basketball, volleyball, hand ball, table tennis, long tennis, and mini football, making the only club which is involved in most sport played in the country.
The club’s chairman, Said Ibrahim Hussein, a long time sports journalist, thanks Gift of the givers charity for supporting the promotion of different sport in Somalia.
“In one hand Gift of the givers is doing charity feeding the needy people and in the other it helps promote sport in Somalia and prevent young people from getting involved in wars and drug abuse,” Said Ibrahim Hussein, told the media as his team won the Somali National basketball league title for the 3rd year running on Friday.
Arrival of Gift of the Givers in Somalia
In 2011, Somalia was affected by a severe drought which was the worst to hit the horn of Africa region in 60 years, causing food crisis in Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia and it affected the lives of millions of people across the horn of Africa region.
Gift of the givers was one of international aid organizations that came to Somalia in response to the droughts and since then the charity has been feeding millions of needy Somalis on a daily basis. Thanks to the charity’s contributors, mainly the people of the Republic of South Africa.
Apart from the humanitarian work, the charity has been hugely involved in promoting peace and sport in the war-weary horn of African country and produced a strong female basketball team which showed a wonder at last year’s Arab women’s basketball championship in Morocco, ending the long absence of Somali women’s basketball from the international platform.
Foundation of Gift of the Givers Sports Team
In 2018, Gift of the Givers decided to play a role in Somalia’s sport by first establishing a men’s basketball team which then grew and founded a women’s basketball team in the following year. In its second year Gift of the givers got involved in six different sports from mini football to table tennis. Now the club employs nearly 200 boys and girls who play different sports.
“Since 2011 we have been providing hundreds of thousands of families with food and pure drinking water and we then decided to create sports teams so we can help youth integration, friendship, peace building and as well as sports development. We also prevent youths from falling into bad habits such as drugs, being used as child soldiers or leaving the country and risking their lives in the high seas while trying to reach Europe,” Gift of the Givers sports club chairman, Said Ibrahim Hussein added.
Mr. Hussein continued to say “Playing sport also helps the youths being healthy and active, while on the other hand they are employed as sports players and paid monthly salaries.”
Gift of the Givers teams, now dominate national leagues of six different sport and contributes to the national teams of basketball, handball, volleyball, mini football, table tennis, and long tennis; all men and women except mini football in which they only have men’s team.
Mr. Hussein who hails from a sporting family, as his father once served as the president of Somali basketball federation and member of the national Olympic Committee exco, now hopes his club will soon have a football team to get involved in the most-loved sport in the world.
All photos by Yasin Warsame Abdi