The country where football was banned

The country where football was banned

Por: Nicolás SasuMartes 14 Jun 2022

The Federal Republic of Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa, to the east of the African continent. It is bordered to the west and northwest by Ethiopia and Djibouti, to the south by Kenya, to the north by the Gulf of Aden, and the east by the Indian Ocean. 

Since the Somali Football Federation (SFF) was created, the popularity of this sport has grown to reach almost the entire population. It is estimated that between 80% and 90% of its inhabitants are football fans. Unfortunately, that passion for this sport was never reflected in either its league or its national team. Somalia is currently ranked 202nd in the FIFA Rankings. But in addition, they never qualified for a World Cup nor did they manage to play in an Africa Cup of Nations.

Somali national team

The reason why this nation never managed to prosper in this sport is that it was prohibited. In 1991, the government of Mohamed Ali Samatar was overthrown. For the next two decades, Somalia experienced a civil war where rebel groups, such as the local Islamic Al Shabab, controlled much of the territory, including the capital Mogadishu. During this time, football was banned as anti-Islamic or satanic and he warned that people who practiced it or watched it on television would be punished by death.

The stadium in Mogadishu was a military base

But anyway, football never stopped being played, it was just played underground in some cities and many hid the uniforms of their favorite teams under their clothes. However, for 20 years and 30 years, the Somali National Team was unable to play an official match. Fortunately, with the pacification of Mogadishu (capital) in 2011, the establishment of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and the approval of a new constitution, football began to return. The league was even resumed in 2013. However, for security reasons, the Somali national team does not play its matches in the country, but rather in neighboring countries.

Football is improving, very slowly, but it is improving. The first challenge is to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and then dream of the World Cup.

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