Voice of Sport

Peaceful Kismayo looks forward to boom in Olympic sport activity

‘On the behalf of Somalia Olympic Committee and its affiliate federations I would like to thank the UK Government for spending thousands of dollars on the rehabilitation of Waabo Stadium,’ said Ahmed Farah the secretary general


AFTER nearly eight years of lack of proper sporting activity, people in the once Al Shabab-controlled Kismayo, the port city provincial capital of Lower Juba region south of the Somalia, are now enjoying sport with the help from the National Olympic Committee of Somalia [NOCSOM].

The organisation has sent a large delegation to the region to regenerate sport. Under the leadership of secretary general Duran Ahmed Farah, NOCSOM organised three development courses; most importantly an administration course and community engagement programme.

Launched

This was the third and the final round of the development programmes which were launched in the region three months ago.

Ahmed Farah, who addressed participants at the end of the development clinics, said that the move was part of NOCSOM’s initiative to revive the country and fraternise its people through sport after decades of bloodshed and lawlessness.

The region’s sole facility, Waabo Stadium, has been reconstructed with the financial assistance from the British Government, said the NOCSOM secretary adding that rehabilitation of the region’s youth who are engaging in sport is a success story.

Friendship

“On the behalf of Somali NOC and its affiliated federations I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UK Government for spending thousands of dollars on the rehabilitation of Waabo Stadium,” Ahmed Farah told participants at the closing ceremony of the development course.

He said that his committee and its member federations were drawing programs which intend to use sport to bring Somalis together and create friendship amongst youths in regions across the country; to help them forget the past hatred and segregations 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.”

Capacity Building

The development program included a capacity building workshop organised for the region’s sports administrators to help them gain knowledge in sports management, so that they will be able to manage their own activities in the future.

The three-day administration seminar gathered 20 people including eight women and was conducted by Professor Mohamed Ahmed Tarabi who is in charge of Somali NOC for local administration workshops. The region is under the Interim Jubba Administration [IJA] government.

“We want every region in the country to have its own administration team to be able to organise and manage their own sporting activities,” Ahmed Farah explained.

Football and Athletics

Youth teams from five neighborhoods of Kismayo City are competing in a football tournament at Waabo Stadium, while about 50 athletes also took part in 200m and 400m races.

Before the events, Somali NOC secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah distributed complete sporting equipment to the football teams and athletes. The equipment included track suits, jerseys, footballs as well as trainers.

Visible signs are of Kismayo people happily enjoying sport for the first time in nearly years in a city that was previously controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militants who were ousted by Kenya Defence Forces assisting local anti-Al Shabab groups and a contingent of African Union peace keepers nearly two years ago.

– Reported by Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar