From Shafici Mohyaddin Abokar
First vice-president and head of international relations. SSPA
MOGADISHU, January 15, 2009 - Two years after the Ethiopian military occupation a high level delegation from the Somali Football Federation (SFF) early on Thursday morning visited the nation’s largest football site the Stadium Mogadishu following the evacuation of Ethiopian forces on Wednesday.
The delegation led by SFF First vice-president Ali Said Guled held a crucial meeting with Islamic Courts spokesman Sheik Abdi Rahiin Isse Addo, who said that the stadium is a public place and that young Somali people are free to play there again.
“This field is for sports not for military and from now on I tell with a loud voice that Stadium Mogadishu is free from Ethiopian occupation and every sports-loving individual can come and play again,” Sheik Abdi Rahiin Isse Addo said.
SFF first vice president Ali Said Guled thanked the Islamic Courts for handing the stadium over to the federation and called for an early landmine investigation operation at the Stadium and surrounding areas.
“This was a military base for a period of two years and there may be mines, bombs and small arms in and around the stadium and that will endanger the civilians who are coming here to play,” he added.
Built by the Chinese government in 1978, Somalia’s Olympic Village, where the nation’s largest football stadium “Mogadishu Stadium” is located has been used as a military base by the Ethiopian forces who completely withdrew from the capital on Wednesday.
The Somali Olympic village has in the past hosted many international sporting games such as the 8th Arab Students’ Games, East-central African Nations Cup, East-central African Champion Teams competition and many others.
However, Stadium Mogadishu which was once one of the largest and most beautiful sporting sites in Africa and the Arab world has been overun by a jungle and will need a lot of hard work to reconstruct.
Below: Islamic Courts Fighters spokesman Sheik Abdi Rahiin Isse Addo shakes hands with Somali Football Federation First vice-president Ali Said Gulded