The president of the federal republic of Somalia, Prof Hassan Sheik Mahmoud, has on Friday launched the first ever inter-state football tournament since after Somalia took the federal system just more than a decade ago.The host team Banadir humiliated their Southwest State rivals by 5-0 in the opening match which attracted tens of thousands of spectators on Friday.
Somali Football Federation president, Abdiqani Said Arab, welcomed Somali president Prof Hassan Sheik Mahmoud to stadium Banadir and invited him to kick the first ball to inaugurate the tournament.
The Somali leader was accompanied by the Southwest State president Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden, the minister for youth and sport Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, Mogadishu mayor, Yusuf Hussein Jimale, government ministers, law makers, ministers and director generals from regional states affiliated to the federal government of Somalia.
SFF president, Abdiqani Said Arab, commended the minister for youth and sport Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan for playing a key role in the implementation of the tournament which he said will be organized every year.
“I take this opportunity to thank our minister for his dedication and commitment to the promotion of football in the country. The arrangement of this competition has been under way for the past two years and we are happy that today the tournament is officially launched by the president of the federal republic of Somalia Prof Hassan Sheik Mahmoud” SFF president explained.
The president also praised the Mayor of the capital Yusuf Hussein Jimale for accepting to host the first inter-state football tournament in Somalia.
The minister for youth and sport, Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan extolled Somali Football Federation authorities for the high profile organization of the competition.
On his party, the president of the federal republic of Somalia Prof Hassan Sheik Mahmoud, said that such football competitions would help the Somali youths get a greater opportunity to create peace, friendship and integration.
The president praised the Somali Football Federation authorities for their commitment to develop football across the country which experienced more than 25 years of civil wars and lawlessness.
However, the newly inaugurated inter-state football event is different from the regional football tournament that Somali Football Federation has been organizing since 1972.
By Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar
CECAFA Media Committee