Voice of Sport

Foreign footballers pouring into Somalia prior to top league kick-off

League football is at a superbly neat Banadir Stadium in Mogadishu, recently refurbished with the aid of Fifa. Crowd attendance is big in most matches and bursts at the seams in the top bill clashes especially between Banadir SC and Elman FC


SOMALIA being a favourite destination of professional footballers in Africa will come as a surprise. In the new season, no less 12 players have enlisted in a sponsored Nation Link Telecom Championship that will pay them more they were earning in their respective countries.

Champions Banadir SC and arch rivals Elman FC lead the foreign signings, Banadir attracting Marcel Odhiambo Oyugi  (Kenya), Thomas Mwancu Cuihobi (Kenya) and Mustapha Maxwell (Nigeria).

Increase

Elman FC will be fielding three Ugandans, Martin Elungat, Eddie Mubiru Ntaabazi and Ivan Mugisha.

The increase of foreign football professionals in Somalia is seen as a ‘significant’ mark of soccer progression in the country. Current league champions Banadir were recognised as the pioneers for transferring foreign players.

But now, just over a month before the kick-off of a new season the number of foreign players in Somalia has substantially increased, as more clubs transfer foreign players from different African countries and prominently from Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.

Fifa support

The 10-team league is set to kick off on December 19.

“The show up of foreign players in the country is very noteworthy — some six clubs in the national league have transferred more players, so this is a remarkable progress for Somalia which is now recovering from decades-long anarchy,” Somali Football Federation [SFF] media officer Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar earlier in the week.

He said that the appearance of international professionals in the Somali league was also an outstanding marketing step for the country whose football has mainly been dependent on the financial assistance from Fifa.

Sponsorship

He said the lawless atmosphere in Somalia had for many years prevented the country from attracting international sponsors, but now that the situation is returning to normal the SFF and its clubs were eying local and international sponsorships.

League football is played in Mogadishu at a superbly neat Banadir Stadium, recently refurbished with the aid of Fifa. Crowd attendance is big in most matches and bursts at the seams in the top bill clashes especially between Banadir and Elman.

SOMALIA NATION LINK TELECOM LEAGUE:

FOREIGN PLAYERS:

Heegan FC:

Mohamed Zubairu – (Nigeria)

Samsoniyke Chukwu – (Nigeria)

Gaadiidka:

Lehman Meheso Mwenza – (Kenya)

Sahafi FC:

Ambrose Mumo – (Kenya)

Elman FC:

 Martin Elungat – (Uganda)

Eddie Ntaabazi Mubiru – (Uganda)

Ivan Mugisha – (Uganda)

Dekadda:

Zubeir Yossuf Oduori – (Kenya)

Mattias OKoro Ogbokiri – (Nigeria)

Banadir SC:

Marcel Odhiambo Oyugi – (Kenya)

Thomas Mwancu Cuihobi – (Kenya)

Maxwell I Mustapha – (Nigeria)

– Additional reporting by Somalia Football Federation Media Department