The dark times of Stadium Mogadishu have come to an end and the long-awaited dreams are set to become true when the national facility hosts its first football match in 16 years next Tuesday as planned.
Mogadishu City Club and Horseed Sports Club have been picked up to clash in the opening match of the national facility which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 30 June. The duo are currently in the top positions of the ongoing Somali Premier league and they have been picked up to compete in the One-Day Cup that is intended to mark on the re-launch of the Ocean Stars Home ground.
The minister for youth and sport Hon. Khadija Mohamed Diriye and Somali Football Federation President, Abdiqani Said Arab, will be welcoming the president of the nation his excellence Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, to the field of play as he will kick the first ball of the historic match.
Somali Football Federation president, Abdiqani Said Arab, said that the reopening match of the facility will be recognised as the biggest football development in the country in 2020. He thanked Somali government for returning the national facility into the hands of the people.
“Stadium Mogadishu is now ready and Somali Football Federation is pleased to announce that Ocean Stars will be able to play their home games in the country. We will also use the facility to host other football activities we do” SFF president said adding that SFF headquarters will be built next to the facility with the financial assistance from FIFA.
A brief history of Stadium Mogadishu 1978-2020.
Stadium Mogadishu is the Home of Ocean Stars and it is the country’s national football facility and it was built for Somalia by China in 1978. The national facility hosted a number of events ranging from Arab league tournament, continental, regional and international levels.
The first match ever played at Stadium Mogadishu after the completion of its construction was a friendly match between Somali National Team and a Chinese Club, Leonen.
Somalia descended into chaos in 1991 and Stadium Mogadishu was one of key sites forced to close down due to civil wars. From 1993 to 1995, the national facility housed US troops and then Pakistani military who were part of the unsuccessful UN peace keeping mission in Somalia.
It then returned to the hands of Somali Football Federation (SFF) after the UN and US troops withdrew from the country. Late in 1995, the SFF was then able to use the site for football competitions and the first tournament that Stadium Mogadishu hosted after the civil war was The Light Of Peace Tournament which followed the Restore Hope football competition that was held at Stadium Banadir and paved the way for the greater The light Of Peace Tournament. The facility then continued to host Somali Premier League matches, previously known as SFF First Division and it had been in use up until late 2004.
Banadir Telecom, now known as Mogadishu City Club, won the last football league hosted at Stadium Mogadishu before it closed down in 2004. There were only 8 clubs in the Somali Premier League at the time. They were Banadir Telecom currently Mogadishu City Club, Elman FC, SITT, now known as Sahafi FC, Dekedda SC, Suppershell FC which is now known as Gaadiidka FC, Feynuus which later turned to Horseed SC, as the old club is revived, Badbaado FC and Gasco FC.
One hundred and nine goals were scored in the whole competition, while Mohamed Nur Abdi (Shaarkey) was crowned as the top scorer of the last football season hosted at Stadium Mogadishu. He scored 10 goals.
From 2007-2009, Stadium Mogadishu was used as their main base by Ethiopian troops who entered the country to help Somali government defeat the once powerful Islamic Courts Unions, but by the end of January 2009, the national facility came into the hands of AL Shabaab when Ethiopian troops went out of the country and Al Shabaab were based at the stadium until they were forced to flee the capital on 6 August 2011.
Once again it became a military ground, as African Union Peace keepers in Somalia (AMISOM) moved into the facility after AL Shabaab vacated. Finally AMISOM left the stadium on 28 August 2018 and now it is ready for use after its renovation has been completed.
Somali Football Federation Media Department