KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 18 – When he is not thinking about football, Mohamud Ali is busy acting as a driving instructor at a driving school which he co-owns with his friend in greater Manchester, United Kingdom.
Ali moved away from Somalia at the age of four, at the height of the civil war that has threatened to tear the country apart for decades. His parents moved away, seeking a new life.
Almost two decades after he initially moved out of Somalia with his folks, Mohamud hopes that he can use his football knowledge and talent to help restore peace in his country and give hope to the millions of Somalis in and out of the country.
Mohamud who plays in the Sixth Tier of English football with Curzon Ashton hopes that Somalia can have more international games especially after their performance at the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda where they missed a place in the semis by a whisker.
“Definitely if we can bring more success on the football front, it will give something for the youth to look up to and to forget about troubles in the country. They can just focus on football and sports and bring love to the Somali people,” Mohamud told Capital Sport.
The defender is one of 14 foreign based players who were included in the Senior Challenge Cup squad by head coach Bashir Hayford as the Ghanaian looks to build a formidable side that can take Somalia football to another level.
“I am immensely proud to be playing for Somalia because this is the country of my birth. I am always ready to come and help my team and as long as I am playing football, I will always be ready to play for Somalia so that I can inspire the future generations to take up sports,” the defender said.
The team was skippered by Ahmed Said Ahmed who plies his football in Finland and he believes their show in the Senior Challenge Cup is an indicator that the team can rise through the ranks.
“We are together for maybe one week to try and build a team and we performed this way. I think we did very well and I am proud of the players. We will keep working hard because I know Somalia people deserve a good team. Hopefully we can keep bringing more joy to them,” Mohammed says.
The team picked up massive confidence in their run up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers where they lost out to Zimbabwe by two late goals, having won the first leg at home.
Both Mohamud and Ahmed believe that if they can have more matches together, then they will improve as a team. Their biggest impediment thoughis the political situation in their country but they hope the growth of football can spur peace and harmony.
The same sentiments are echoed by head coach Bashir who believes more football will be a good antidote for the political friction in the country.
“At least now I am starting to see the league becoming stronger. We need to start working on this first then build the passion back at home. If this can bring peace, then we can even host international matches in Somalia,” Hayford stated.
Currently, the Ocean Stars play their home games in Djibouti.
“We have very good players from Somalia who play in good leagues and this CECAFA gave us an opportunity to build the team further, We keep like this everything is possible,” skipper Ahmed added.
Foreign based Somalia players:
Mohamud Ali (Curzon Ashton- UK), Ahmed Ali (Pearl FC, Qatar), Ahmed Said Ahmed (VJS, Finland), Abdulkadir Said Ahmed (VJS Vantaa, Finland), Aden Ali Aden (Al Markhiya, Qatar), Abdel Aziz Youssef (HFX Wanderers, Canada), Yonis Farah (Tryoil FK, Norway), Abukar Mohamed (Kaparty Lvivon, Ukraine), Guled Abdirizak (NK Zrinksi, Croatia), Hussein Mohamed (Helsingorts, Finland), Farhan Mohamud (TSV Bicken, Germany), Liban Abdulahi (De Graafshap, Netherlands).