By Shafici Mohyaddin Abokar, First -vice president and Head of International Relations, SSPA
MOGADISHU, April 6, 2009 - A Danish football referee who originally hails from war-ravaged Somalia, Hassan Wiish Hajji Yabarow, on Sunday received dozens of Somali football referees at a highly arranged luncheon held at one of Mogadishu’s best hotels, the Nasa Hablood Palace Hotel.
“I am here in Somalia to deliver my knowledge and experience to the Somali football referees and I pledge to them whatever I can to develop their refereeing skills,” said the 30 year-old second division Danish football referee during his short address at Sunday’s luncheon.
“Last year I promised to reunite the Somali football referees in and outside the country so that they can help one another and after my return to Europe I will create connections and cooperation between those who remained here in Somalia and the expatriate Somali football referees” he said.
Mr. Hassan Wiish who left Somalia in 1991 and returned to Mogadishu late last month promised to help the Somali football referees get the latest international refereeing skills.
President of the Somali Football Federation (SFF) Said Mahmoud Nur who addressed the ceremony praised the Danish-Somali origin referee whom he said is committed to assisting the SFF.
“I call on the other European football referees and coaches who are originally from Somalia to return home like our colleague Hassan Wiish and help their brothers who did not get the opportunity to go the developed nations to upgrade their knowledge,” the SFF president added.
The president of Somali National Olympic committee, Aden Hajji Yabarow, for his part called on Somalis with dual passports to assist the nation’s sport which is now emerging from 19 years of set backs and lack of progress caused by one of the most devastating civil wars in the world for the last two decades.
The 30 year-Old Danish referee and sports addict is always seen at the ill-equipped stadiums in Mogadishu where he presents gifts and sometimes cash to encourage the young players who grew up in the era of anarchy, disorder and civil wars in the lawless Horn of Africa nation of Somalia.