War-torn Somalia to broadcast its first-ever live football match

  • AFP, Mogadishu
  • Updated: Dec 17, 2015 19:59 IST
A Somali boy in crutches plays with a football in front of makeshift shelters at the Sayyid camp in the Howlwadaag district of Mogadishu. (AFP Photo)

Somalia have been ravaged by decades of civil war and unrest, but on Thursday, the Horn of Africa nation will screen its first ever live football match in an attempt to bring back normalcy to the country.

The final of the General Da’ud cup, played in the capital Mogadishu’s Banadir Stadium on Thursday afternoon, will be broadcast live on Somali state television, SNTV, according to the national football federation.

“It is a breakthrough, we had long dreamed of getting our matches watched live -- this is almost the realisation of our age-old dreams,” Somali Football Federation president Abdiqani Said Arab said in a statement.

“This will be a test, but if we are successful in this endeavour, we will try to get our matches shown live in the months to come.”

The game will see army team Horseed take on police rivals Heegan FC.

Football is one of the most popular games both played and watched in Somalia, with European football screened in cafés.

Al-Qaeda’s East Africa branch, the Shebab, used carry out grenade attacks on those watching football, but such attacks have declined with the insurgents battling government troops backed by a 22,000-strong African Union force.

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