Somali: CAF President wrap-up 2-day visit to Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia (PANA) - CAF President Ahmad Ahmad has wrapped up his two-day working visit to Somalia with a declaration that his choice of the 'Horn of Africa' for his maiden official visit was a step in the right direction.

"Some people asked why I chose Somalia as my first destination. Now, I can tell them that's because Somalia is an African country that deserves our care and attention. We have to work together to develop African football, and also Somalia to reach higher heights.

"Football is a tool for unity and solidarity, and that's the role that we have to do in the coming period", Ahmad said at a press briefing on Tuesday in the capital, Mogadishu.

According to the CAF media outlet, the CAF President highlighted the importance of his tour of sporting facilities in Mogadishu, adding that he will discuss with partners such as FIFA and the African Union (AU), on measures to get the Mogadishu Stadium back to use and also develop sporting infrastructure in Somalia.

When he paid a courtesy call on the Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, in Mogadishu, the Somali leader highlighted the important role played by football in the lives of the people.

“We are glad that the CAF President decided to visit Somalia on his first official visit, and this obliges us to develop football which is the only way to unite our people.

“Welcome to our country. I would like to thank you for this visit, and I commend the president of Somali Football Federation for his efforts, and also the Prime Minister and the Minister of Youth and Sports,” said the Somali President.

“We will overcome all obstacles to return to what it used to be in the past. Somalia is a football country and has no history with any other sport. Our people love football, which is considered the most popular sport here. Everyone in this room has played football before and I used to be a football referee in the past.

“Football is one of the most important tools to develop our country. Football unites people, and you know that. Let’s work hand in hand for Somalia and for Africa,” said Farmajo.

In response, the CAF President expressed delight to start his official trip by visiting Somalia, adding “I’m really happy on my first visit to Somalia, not only because of what I saw at the football stadium, but because of the spirit I found here. You really deserve special praise and encouragement, as your country has witnessed many difficult moments, yet the spirit I saw was really amazing”.

Ahmad promised to work hard towards the development of football in Somalia.

“I promise to put in great efforts towards the development of Somali football. I saw the state of the Mogadishu Stadium and it’s really sad. I will pass on the message to CAF to unite our efforts towards Somalia and for the whole continent.

“As I said before, I am a president for the whole Africa, and I will devote my time for the good of football and Africa,” concluded Ahmad.

Regarding Somalia's willingness to host international matches after a 26-year hiatus, Ahmad said: "It will need some time. Firstly, we have to start developing the infrastructure, then we can arrange some friendly games to evaluate the situation from a security perspective, and to assess the attendance. It needs some time for development and evaluation".

The CAF President revealed he has had discussions with the Somali Football Federation (SFF) officials on guidelines to develop Somali football. The two parties resolved that the priority is to make huge progress in terms of development.

On his part, SFF president Abdiqani Said Arab Said Abdi Qani Arab, expressed gratitude on the visit by the CAF President.

"I would like to thank the CAF President for this historic visit that marks a huge day for Somalia, and to me personally as it confirms our long  friendship," he said.
-0- PANA VAO 18April2017

18 april 2017 15:25:59

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