A team from Somalia's capital Mogadishu has won the first national sports event held inside Somalia in the last 23 years, Radio Garowe reports.
On Friday, the Somali National Football Tournament that opened on Dec. 15th in Garowe, the capital of Puntland, concluded with an exciting match between teams from Banadir (Mogadishu) region and Bari (Bossaso) region.
|Banadir (Mogadishu)team celebrates victory in Garowe|
The Mogadishu team won the match 1-0, with an estimated crowd of 15,000 people packing Mire Aware Stadium in Garowe.
Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, the president of Puntland, was watching the match among tens of honored guests including Ethiopia's consul-general in Garowe, Mogadishu's mayor and Puntland Cabinet ministers and parliamentarians.
|Puntland President Abdirahman Farole speaking at closing ceremony in Garowe/31 Dec. 2010|
There was brief speeches by the officials from the Organizing Committee, the Somali Football Federation that organized the event, and the Somali Olympic Committee.
President Farole was welcomed to the microphone and he began his speech by congratulating all 15 regional teams in the tournament, especially the winners.
"I am very happy that Mogadishu won. I am also very happy that a team from the south [Mogadishu] played against a team from the north [Bossaso, in Puntland]," President Farole said.
He underlined the reason Puntland hosted the sports event was to "bring Somalis together."
"Puntland has always brought together Somalis, like the Islamic scholars conference, the Somali women's conference, and now the sports event, which brings together the youth and the community," Puntland's president stated.
Somalia's last effective national government collapsed in 1991, when the country disintegrated and insecurity prevailed.
Puntland, located in northeast Somalia, has remained relatively stable with a government and regular elections.
The last football tournament in Somalia was held in 1987, with all previous tournaments held only in Mogadishu. The tournament in Garowe marks the first time the football tournament among Somali regions was held outside of Mogadishu.
Many Somalis expressed surprise when Al Shabaab insurgents, who rule most regions in southern Somalia, allowed teams from regions they control to participate in the football tournament.
Mogadishu and Bossaso teams to compete in Somalia football final
Closing Ceremony of Somali National Football Tournament in Puntland