TotalEnergies U17 AFCON: Nur proud of Somalia’s performance despite exit

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The country, from the horn of Africa in the CECAFA region, were making their debut in a continental championship across any age group and managed to get a point from three matches.

Their last duel was a 3-0 defeat to group winners Senegal in Constantine on Friday night.

“No one is happy with a defeat, but for me and the team, we are happy. We are delighted to be on this stage. This is the first time ever for a Somali national team to get this experience with such a tournament and now we are inspired. We got one point from three matches and for us, we will celebrate that,” Nur said.

“There are 54 countries in Africa and only 12 can play this tournament. We are one of the 12. There are better countries than us with better infrastructure and more stability, which is different from us. We come from a background of war and instability in Somalia but yet we have managed to be here. I am a proud coach,” he added.

Somalia qualified after winning the CECAFA regional championships last October, beating South Sudan in the final.

Playing at the tournament, Nur says, has given him and the team the hunger to come back again, even if not for the U17, but the U20, U23 and even the senior teams.

“We want to continue developing our football. We are getting help from the Somali Football Federation and the government in our efforts to reach our goals. For me, we played well in this tournament and it is something we can build on. For sure, we will come back,” added the tactician.

The Ocean Stars were erstwhile punching bags in the East Africa region, but the confidence they leave Algeria with is expected to transmit across all their national teams, as they look to remain on the high table of African football.