Friday, May 1, 2015

Somalia referees receive FIFA training

Mogadishu, April 18 - Two instructors from Egypt and Jordan have arrived in Mogadishu to conduct a three day high level training and fitness test for 30 local and international Somalia referees as part of the World football body FIFA support to increase their fitness level and football knowledge which is a major boost for the country as it continues its road to recovery.
FIFA Instructor and Africa Regional Development Officer Ahmed Al Shanawi from Egypt and Hassan Mohamed Hassan, a Jordanian FIFA Fitness Instructor conducted a 3 day refereeing training and fitness test for Somalia referees officiating in the second division, first division of the Somalia premier league as well as some International referees and assistant referees from Somalia. The training started on 28 April and is expected to end on the 30th of April.
The Somalia Football Federation is a member of FIFA and is the only organization mandated by FIFA to manage football in Somalia. FIFA supports Somalia with such high level technical trainings and has in the past provided material support too like the construction and carpeting of Banadir stadium. Somalia has three football divisions that bring together over 20 football clubs. For the first time in the country history, the local league has also attracted foreign players from Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda
Speaking on behalf of the government during the opening ceremony to officially launch the FIFA Somalia Member Association Refereeing Training and Fitness Test at a psoh Mogadishu hotel, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Osman Adan Dubow reiterated the government’s commitment to support sports and the youth.
“I sincerely wish to thank FIFA and the Somalia Football Federation (SFF) under the leadership of its charismatic Chairman Abdiqani Hassan Arab for their unflinching dedication to continue engaging the youth and entertaining the Somalia people with football and such high level training to improve the sport. We want to assure them that the Somalia government and people are ready to cooperate with them because football is the most loved sports in Somalia,” Assistant Minister Dubow said.
SFF Chairman Abdiqani who also spoke during the launch of the program thanked the FIFA officials and urged Somalia referees to be disciplined during the training course show dedication and hard work in order to benefit from the experience of the FIFA instructors.
“Referees are the backbone of our football because without proper training and incentives they can easily bring the game into disrepute and hence the need to increase their knowledge and fitness level in accordance with FIFA standards. Somalia is represented in international matches by 9 referees but we want to produce more international referees and we can only do so with such high level training,” Abdiqani said amid applause from the referees and officials who attended the colourful event.
For his part the FIFA Africa Regional Development Officer Ahmed Al Shanawi from Egypt lauded Somalia referees’ progress and promised to share their experience with them. He said FIFA is impressed by Somalia’s recover and is ready to continue supporting Somalia football.
“There is a period Somalia was not good and Somalia was not in the plans for FIFA courses. So now FIFA is happy, very happy. This year I think FIFA have sent a lot of good things for the referees and also next year God willing we will send more and more,”
Somalia referee Aweys Abdullahi Sheikh is one of 9 other Somalia international referees and assistants. He said such high level training keeps them fit and well prepared for their hard task of officiating a football match. He hopes to one day officiate in a world cup final match.
“I am an International Assistant Referee. I officiated in many international football matches like in Tunisia where I took part in a match between Libyan and Chad. I also officiated in Angola this year. I have also taken part in a match between Burundi and Egypt. I have also been in Djibouti several times and many other places. I became an International Assistant Referee in 2014. I hope to learn more and gain more experience so that I can officiate a final world cup match in 2018, that is my dream,” he said, with a broad smile at Banadir stadium, venue of Somalia referees FIFA fitness training.