The president of the transitional federal government (TFG) of Somalia Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed who arrived here in Dar Es Salaam on Friday afternoon met the Somali National Football Team before returning home late on Saturday.
Accompanied by deputy prime minister and minister for defense Hussein Arab Isse and the Somali police Chief General Sharif Sheikhuna Maye, the Somali president said that he was very jubilant at having such meeting with the young Somali boys who have been the nation’s flag carriers for over the past two decades.
“You are really doing a good job for your country and people, because you have been holding up the Somali flag during a very difficult era and still you are carrying it—I encourage you to continue from here “president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed told Somali Football Federation (SFF) Authorities and national team members during Saturday’s high profile meeting.
For his part Somali deputy prime minister and minister for defense Hussein Arab Isse said that the participation of international matches by the SFF and its young players was a historical achievement for Somalia in accordance with the terrible situation the country has been experiencing for more than two decades.
“In football a team may win or fail, because we know that big countries with stable government and peaceful territories are sometimes defeated in football matches, but the most important thing is that Somalia was still among international football gatherings” the deputy PM and the minister for defense Hussein Arab Isse told the national team members.
Somali Football Federation Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab thanked the Somali president and his high level delegation for the precious reception of the Ocean stars. “Dear Mr. President having advantage from this opportunity the Somali Football Federation is here by confirming that you became the first Somali president who organizes such very encouraging meeting with the National team for more than 23 years and we are very grateful to you” Secretary General Abdi Qani Said Arab said during the occasion.
The president returned home later on Saturday, while the Ocean stars will leave from Dar Es Salaam over night on Saturday. The Ocean stars were due to travel to the war-ravaged capital Mogadishu on Thursday, but because of lack of daily flight connections to Somalia they were postponed. Before reaching Mogadishu, the team will have to go on a long way through Addis Ababa, Djibouti and then Mogadishu where they are expected to land on Monday afternoon.
By Shafi’I Mohyaddin Abokar
CECAFA Media C member and SFF Chief Media officer.