Somali government officials, president of the national Olympic committee, Somali FA president and members of his executive committee, Somali Football stakeholders, presidents of national sporting federations and national sporting associations, former and current Ocean stars members and referees including old and active referees have all gathered at a luncheon at the Lido Sea Food restaurants in the Lido Beach resort of Mogadishu on Sunday to show support for the Somali FA and to thank CAF for awarding Somalia.
Former Somali FA vice president, Abdulkadir Mohamud Abdulle, who addressed at the appreciation ceremony, said it was a historic moment for Somalia to have its FA boss presented the African football leader of the year award.
"It is a very great experience in Somalia’s football history. I am really very happy and I don’t know what more I can say. All Somali people are with you in all your endeavors to develop our football” said Mr. Abdulle who served as SFF vice president from 2001 to 2005.
SFF senior vice president Ali Abdi Mohamed added that the good governance award presented to president Abdiqani Said Arab will encourage the country’s football federation members to redouble their efforts. He announced that the SFF has drawn a special rehabilitation program for the street boys and child soldiers to build a good future for them.
The president of Somali National Olympic Committee, Abdullahi Aahmed Tarabi said it was a great and historic achievement for Somalia that its football federation was awarded by the African football governing body CAF for good governance and the development of football in a country where it was impossible to do such work.
"Our sport is lacking the government’s role because the world sport goes with financial support from their governments. I hope we will soon be securing huge support from our government and I am sure if we get the kind of support we need from our government, Somalia sport will grow more” Somali NOC president Abdullahi Ahmed Tarabi told the gathering.
The chief of Somalia’s correction troops and former international football referee, Major General Bashir Mohmed Jama, said he was commending the Somali Football Federation for wining a prestigious award.
"I am one of the football volunteers and I know that Somali FA has been working under very hard circumstances. They are hard-working heroes. It is a great publicity for the entire Somali people that our football federation was awarded by CAF for their good governance. This is really something that we are all proud of” General Jama told the appreciation ceremony.
CECAFA vice president and the president of Somali FA Abdiqani Said Arab who finally addressed at the gathering praised the country’s football family for showing their appreciation with the new approaches.
The president said that the [leader of the year award] given to his federation through him was giving Somalia a moral boost. "This will encourage us to increase our efforts "he said.
"On behalf of the Somali Football Family, I would like to send my heart-felt greetings and a big thank you to the president of CAF Issa Hayatou and his executive committee for leading African football to more progress and for honoring Somalia to be given such high profile award” SFF president told the ceremony.
President Abdiqani Said Arab also praised CAF secretary General Hicham El Amrani and his secretariat team for always being concerned and well-informed about football activities throughout the continent and in particularly that in Somalia.
The president thanked his executive committee members, secretariat and the stakeholders for their joint efforts in the promotion of football in the country.
"I recognize the SFF media department for the big role they played in our football. Without them the outside world wouldn’t have known what we are doing here, so our media team was the main drive for Somalia getting this high level ward from CAF” the president announced.
"Our media team has developed a very healthy relationship with both local and international media who also have helped us put our activities before international audience” SFF president Abdiqani Said Arab said.
At the end, President Arab, lead a remembrance session to pray for the late Somali FA presidents: Said Mohamud Nur and Farha Addo and those who lead the federation before them including Nur Hussein Abdi, who was one time known as the father of Somalia’s sport.
Somali Football Federation Media Department