Somalia Organize Special Football Event to Celebrate Joining East Africa Community

East Africa Community Seat

After more than 10 years of diplomatic process and negotiations, Somalia finally secured its seat in the East Africa Community, becoming the eighth member of the trade block three weeks ago.

To celebrate the diplomatic triumph, Somali football Federation organized a four-team football tourney which kicked off at the country’s national football facility on Thursday with Dekedda Sports Club defeating Jeenyo FC 3-1 in the opening match of the [Celebrate with Somalia tournament]. Other clubs participating in the competition are Elman FC and Mogadishu City Club. The duo will face off on Friday in the second match of the special event which is being played in a single-elimination stage.

“We have organized, this special tournament to express our feeling of excitement, because we see the joining of the block as a gateway to a greater football development and integration,” Somali Football Federation president, Ali Abdi Mohamed, said in a statement.

Dekedda SC at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
Dekedda SC at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.

East Africa Community Membership Benefits

East Africa Community membership is good for football promotion.

The president of Somali Football Federation, Ali Abdi Mohamed, sees his country’s joining of the East Africa trade block as a positive step in terms of football development, saying that the free movement between the member countries will give Somali footballers an opportunity to easily travel around the region for unofficial football friendlies.

Ali Abdi Mohamed greets Dekedda SC team at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
Ali Abdi Mohamed greets Dekedda SC team at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.

“When Somalia’s joining of the East Africa Community was first announced last month, the only thing that came to my mind was that Somali youths will have a greater opportunity to move freely across the region and enjoy football with their brothers and sisters in the other countries of the block” Somali Football Federation president, Ali Abdi Mohamed, said.

“Somalis are football-mad people and love competitions, so the joining of the block will see an increasing number of young Somalis traveling for unofficial football matches against their friends across the region and this will help promote football both in our country and in the rest of the member countries” president Ali Abdi Mohamed, added.

Jeenyo FC at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
Jeenyo FC at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.

Previously Somalis needed entry visas to member countries of the block except Rwanda which is visa free for all Africans, meaning that to enter other countries of the EAC, Somali footballers like other citizens of Somalia will have to go through visa processing when traveling for CECAFA tournaments or other official football matches.

Now that Somalia is a full member, all routes are open to the people of Somalia and that is why Somali Football Federation organized the special football competition named after [Celebrate with Somalia tourney].

Member countries of the block are: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the newest country, Somalia.

stadium soccer fans at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
stadium soccer fans at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
East Africa Community event.Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
Ali Abdi Mohamed at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
Ali Abdi Mohamed at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
referee team at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.
referee team at East Africa Community event. Photo by Abdul Malik Muhudin.

Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Shafi’i has extensive experience in journalism, international relations, and football management. He is the founder of Somali Sports Press Association, a long-time sports journalist and a member of the International Sports Press Association.

Shafi’i has a Master’s Degree in international Relations obtained at De Montfort University in Leicester and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Multimedia journalism from the University of Northampton. The photo shows Shafi’i in action while at CAF Centre of Excellence in Cameroon.