Soccer Tournament Brings Mogadishu Districts’ Youth Together

Waberi and Boondheere team players compete in the final soccer tournament match. © IOM 2015 (Photo: Abdullahi Farah)

Waberi and Boondheere team players compete in the final soccer tournament match. © IOM 2015 (Photo: Abdullahi Farah)

Somali youth face limited opportunities to engage in sports since much of the public infrastructure, such as sports facilities, was destroyed during the civil war. To support youth engagement in sports, IOM worked with the Benadir Regional Administration (BRA) to organize a month-long soccer tournament for the 17 districts of Mogadishu entitled “Sports for Peace”. IOM also supported the BRA Sports Committee in distributing sports equipment such as t-shirts emblazoned with peace messages, shorts, shoes and balls along with visibility materials such as billboards, posters and pamphlets across the 17 districts.

More than 340 youth soccer players participated in the tournament which ended on 28 August 2015.  Fifteen thousand spectators attended the event, including the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, the Governor and Mayor of Mogadishu, members of the Somali Football Federation (SFF), civil society, the Somali National Police Commander and other dignitaries who filled the stadium to watch the final match between Boondheere and Waberi districts. The tournament aired live on most radio stations in Mogadishu.

Spectators avidly watch the final soccer game between Boondheere and Waberi districts. © IOM 2015 (Photo: Abdullahi Farah)

“It’s a historic day. It’s a great day for the people of Mogadishu and Somalis. Congratulations to Boondheere and Waberi districts. We were able to organize this tournament thanks to the cooperation of the police and the community. I thank the police for the good work they are doing in Benadir Region. It’s one of our strategies to develop sports in the region,” said Hassan Mohamed Mungab, Mayor of Mogadishu.

Fahad Ali Sadiq, a 22-year-old Boondheere resident, scored the winning goal for Boondheere District. “I am delighted I scored the winning goal for my district. It was my second goal during the tournament and a free kick also. It was my first time to participate in such a great tournament.”