Mogadishu national stadium lay in ruins for sixteen years, denying young people the opportunity to play and watch soccer in a world class facility. It was recently repaired as part of an EU and Norway initiative to help the Somali government revive sports and improve community integration.
Although it is a rare sight to see a Somali mother encouraging her son to play football, Halima Sadia is an exception. The avid soccer fan regularly goes to the national stadium to cheer her son on as he plays international-calibre football.
She says it runs on the family.
“I’m here to support my son– he’s a talented soccer player as our family has always been involved in sports. My mother used to play football even before Somali gained her independence,” she says.
While her son still continues to study, currently in secondary school studying languages, the soccer mom sees football in his future.
“I would like my son to follow the footsteps of the legendary Egyptian footballer, Mohamed Salah, who plays for Liverpool. I want him to play for the big teams, Insha’Allah,” she adds.
Another soccer mom, Anisa Mohamed, is happy to watch her son play in a secure environment.
“I am delighted to watch a soccer game in this magnificent stadium. It is a dream come true,” she says.