The launch of the first ever regional football league in the country’s football history, has realized one of the long-standing dreams of Somali Football Federation.The first regional soccer league was successfully opened in the key port city of Kismayo, about 500 kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu on Thursday 29th of December 2016. Kismayo is the provincial capital of the semiautonomous Somali State of Jubbaland.
The inauguration of the regional football leagues was one of several development initiatives announced by Somali Football Federation president, Abdiqani Said Arab during his post election address on 31st of August 2014.
The inaugural edition of the regional football league is being participated by 8 football teams which are from cities and towns in the three regions that make of the Jubbaland state and will be followed by other leagues to be held in other semiautonomous Somali states.
Dowlada Hoose football club took on their Koban FC rivals in the inaugural match which attracted the attention of thousands of spectators including key government officials and football federation leaders. Both teams struggled to secure a win, but the match finally ended in draw 2-2.
Jubbaland State vice president, Abdulkader Haji Mahmoud Lugadheere, Somali FA senior vice president, Ali Abdi Mohamed, regional state minister for youth and sport Mohamed Mahmoud Yusuf, SFF education officer, Ali Mohamed Amed and Jubbaland State football Association president, Ahmed Farah Taqal were among several officials who watched Thursday’s inaugural match.
Jubbaland State vice president, Abdulkader Haji Mahmoud Lugadheere, said it was a great honor for his state to host the inaugural tournament of regional football leagues in the country. He thanked Somali FA for this major approach adding that his government was committed to helping football development as much as they can.
“After a long time of preparations and spreading football knowledge across the country, we have finally launched the regional football league in Somalia which is one of our long-standing ambitions. I congratulate Jubbaland for becoming the first Somali State of the federal government to host a regional football league. This is an iconic history for the region” Somali FA president, Abdiqani Said Arab said in a statement.
The president said that such regional football leagues will be held in each semiautonomous Somali State as most of states are now in their final preparations. “The teams who win in the leagues in their respective states will gather in the capital Mogadishu and will play a final tournament. Then the team who wins in that final tournament will be recognized as the Champion of Somalia’s federal States and will get top profile awards” SFF president mentioned.
By Omar Wardere
Member of SFF Media Committee