After nearly 8 years of absence, people in the once Al Shabab-controlled city of Kismayo, the provincial capital of Lower Jubba region in the south of Somalia, are now enjoying sport. They are supported by the National Olympic committee of Somalia, which sent a large delegation to the region, to regenerate sport.
The delegation, under the leadership of Somali NOC secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah, organized three development courses; most importantly, an administration course, and a community engagement program.
This was the 3rd and final round of the development programs that were launched in the region three months ago.
Somali NOC secretary, General Duran Ahmed Farah, who addressed attendees at the end of the development programs, said that the move was part of NOCSOM’s initiative to revive the country and fraternize its people through sport after decades of bloodshed and lawlessness in the country.
Rehabilitation of Waamo Stadium
The region’s sole facility, Waamo soccer Stadium, was reconstructed with financial assistance from the UK government, according to Somali NOC secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah, who said that with the completion of the reconstruction, the region’s youths will have the chance to enjoy sport once again.
“On the behalf of Somali NOC and its affiliated federations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government of UK for spending thousands of dollars on the rehabilitation of Waabo Stadium,” Mr. Duran told the closing ceremony of the development programs on Saturday.
He said that his committee and its member federations were drawing programs which intend to use sport as an element to bring Somalis together and create friendship amongst youths in regions across the country to help them forget the past hatred and segregation created by warmongers.
“For the past 24 years, divisions and hostilities were normal amongst Somali people, but we want to make changes through sport – so far we made some positive approaches in the initiative, but we want to continue and I am hopeful it will yield tangible outcome,” Mr. Duran Ahmed Farah told the closing ceremony on Saturday.
The development program included a capacity building workshop organized for the region’s sports administrators to help them gain knowledge in sports management, so they will be able to manage their own activities in the future.
The 3-day administration seminar gathered 20 people, including 8 women, and was conducted by Professor Mohamed Ahmed Tarabi who is in charge of Somali NOC for local administration workshops.
“We want every single region in the country to have its own administration team to be able to organize and manage their own sporting activities,” NONSOM secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah explained during his address at the conclusion ceremony of the combined development programs on Saturday.
Football and Athletics Competitions
Youth teams from 5 neighborhoods in the city of Kismayo are competing in a football tournament, which is being hosted at the recently rehabilitated Waamo Stadium in the city, and about 50 athletes took part in 400M and 200M running competitions.
Before the events, Somali NOC secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah distributed complete sporting equipment to 5 football teams and athletes from around the city. The equipment included: tracksuits, jerseys, footballs and trainers.
Mr. Duran said that Somali NOC and its member federations were committed to helping every single Somali boy or girl get access to sport.
People in Kismayo are now happily enjoying sport for the first time in nearly 8 years, as the city was previously controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked AL Shabab militants who were ousted from the city with the help of a Kenyan contingent of African Union peace keepers, nearly two years ago.