For the first time in its football history, the war-weary Somalia has seen FIFA grassroots course being held in the country, an event which is termed as a “historic approach” by the Somali Football Federation which has been operating in one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the past two decades during which the SFF missed beloved volunteer colleagues including its former president Said Mahmoud Nur.
It was 1986 when the last FIFA course was held in Somalia, but the grassroots course is the first of its kind that Somalia gets from the world football governing body.
Somali Football Federation Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab who first addressed at the launching ceremony gave detailed information on the course and the efforts spent by his federation to get such course organized in the war-devastated country.
“We have spent allot of time and energy to get the course in Somalia, we held a lot of meetings with FIFA in a bid to get acceptance to organize FIFA events at home and we finally approached the target after Somali Football federation completed the preconditions need for holding a FIFA event in Mogadishu” Somali Football Federation Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab mentioned in his address.
“The country’s old facility was installed with an artificial turf plus the security situation in the country developing, FIFA has given us the rights of holding our events here—we started the organization of this course just four months ago and we spent a lot on getting it implemented in the country” the secretary General added.
He praised the FIFA instructor who is conducting the 3rd coaching course for Somalia since 2009.
“The previous courses were held in our second homeland Djibouti, we are very grateful to the government, football authorities and the entire people of Djibouti, although we started to organize our FIFA events here I declare that Djibouti is always open to us and we will use it whenever we need—Djibouti will always remain as our second homeland” Mr. Abdi Qani Said Arab mentioned during his address at the opening ceremony Thursday.
He indicated that participating coaches are from local clubs through schools and regional zones through schools too as part of Somali Football Federation policy to enhance football in schools education throughout the country.
“On behalf of SFF I would like to thank the local and international media for their cooperation with Somali Football Federation, this course is a historic approach for us and it will be a precursor for our future FIFA events to be held in the country, so I would request the media organizations to promote its coverage” SFF secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab told the ceremony.
For his part the FIFA expert Ulric Mathiot conveyed his bets greetings to Somali government officials, SFF educative committee and to all Somali people. He thanked Somali Football Federation officials for the cordial welcome and hospitality since the day he arrived at Mogadishu where he was received by Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab, EC member Ali Abdi Mohamed and SFF chief of protocol Abokar Islow .
“I would like to inform you that I have a big message for all Somali people and that is a message of greetings, brotherhood and solidarity from president of FIFA Joseph S Blatter and his executive committee” the expert told the opening ceremony of the course Thursday.
He said he was cheerful to be in Somalia. “It is not my first time to conduct a course for Somalia, but it is my first time to arrive in Somalia and I am happy with my stay here” the instructor added.
“The grassroots course will target children from 6 to 12 years of age as part of FIFA’s program to develop football from the bottom---today I am here with you to deliver my knowledge and experience to you, so try to acquire more education and ask me every question you need” Ulric told the trainees.
He said that the organization of the course was very wonderful. “I conducted courses in so many countries and I can confirm that Somalia is one of the top countries in terms of organization, preparation and commitment of football officials—I can see that Somali Football Federation had paid a plenty of efforts and did tangible activities in accordance with the chaotic situations under which it was operating” the instructor noted.
The president of Somali Football Federation Mr. Ali Said Guled Roble told the ceremony that implementing of this course in the country was something his federation dreamed for a long time. He urged the trainees to be more open to the course in a bid to acquire more knowledge.
“I know five days is not more, but I am sure that you can earn a lot because of the well experienced and helpful instructor you have” the SFF president told the course participants during his opening remarks. “The course is being held here in the country, but know that FIFA and SFF are always spending much money in such courses” the president noted.
“This course is totally different from pervious courses because you are not tired, you didn’t travel abroad and I am sure you can earn more than if you had travelled abroad, so please take advantage from your chances” president Ali Said Guled Roble emphasized.
Somali government deputy minister for civil service development Mahmoud Moalim Yahe said that his ministry was fully welcoming such youth and football development programs.
“Today I have got full understanding about the power of football and its importance in the community, I announce here in front of you that from today I am member of the football family and on the behalf of Somali government I declare that the federal government is happy with what you are doing and we are welcoming your development activities” the deputy minister told the launching ceremony.
“Somali government is very grateful to FIFA for sending its expert to Somalia at the moment, we know that FIFA had spent a lot in protecting Somali football from collapsing while there was no law and order in the country, I request FIFA to redouble its assistance to Somali FA and as a government we promise to play our role in the promotion of football in Somalia” the deputy minister added before he announced the course was open.