Voice of Sport

New Somalia President is American: Country has sporting pedigree and Kenya contributes to football hopes

Mohamed “Farmajo" Abdullahi Mohamed, was elected President on Wednesday, of a country with much sporting potential which produced World and Olympic athletics champions Abdi Bile and British icon Sir Mo Farah

SOME of Kenya’s biggest relations with Somalia are sporting. For years, the two countries have played against each other in football and basketball and although Kenya are dominant in athletics, they acknowledge that Somalia has the potential to match their 1987 1,500m world champion Abdi Bile and Sir Mo Farah, Britain’s most successful sportsperson ever who originated from Somalia before moving to the United Kingdom at the age of eight.

The elections for Somalia President which took place on Wednesday gripped the imagination of sports lovers in Kenya who have always followed the sporting fortunes of that country since 1991 when it fell into misrule and then lack of government after the violent deposal of the then President Siad Barre.


Lawless Somalia, however, has in recent years carried on with sport, especially with a flourishing football outlay throughout the country. In the Somalia National [Football] League centred on the capital Mogadishu, as well as other nationalities, there are many Kenyan players and some coaches. With a democratically elected government, hopes are for the better.

Mohamed “Farmajo” Abdullahi Mohamed, was elected President on Wednesday and in Kenya there was excitement and wonder of irony about the poll winner. His popular nickname, “Farmajo” is Italian for cheese which he is said he loved eating when he was young, growing up in the former Italian colony.

Some facts about him:

Mohamed is American. Born in Mogadishu in 1962, he studied a bachelors degree in history at the University of Buffalo and the State University of New York [SUNY] and for a Master’s in political science (American studies) at Buffalo. His thesis was titled: “US Strategic Interest in Somalia: From the Cold War Era to the War on Terror.”

Mohammed worked in the US equivalents of local government or municipal [city] councils; 1994-97 as an at-large Commissioner for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, and worked there as the finance chairman. He also served as case manager for a lead abatement program in the city from 1995 to 1999. Between 2000 and 2002, Mohamed was a minority business coordinator for the Erie County Division of Equal Employment Opportunity.

From 2002-10 he worked as Commissioner for Equal Employment at the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo. Mohamed also taught leadership skills and conflict resolution at Erie Community College, which is part of the SUNY system.

– Additional reporting from Agencies