As youthful sports ambitions are confined to the dustbin by hunger for party and national political power
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somaliland sun – For the first time since inception almost a decade ago the Somaliland regional sports championship has failed to crown champions for the usual categories of football, basketball and athletics.
Apart from collapse of the the games that bring together the country’s sporting best from all regions at a regional capital annually, the 2015 championships enters the annals of history for being the first to be hosted by three cities.
As planned the elimination phase was held concurrently in Borame and Burao the capitals of Awdal and Toghdeer regions in the west and east of the country respectively with each hosting eight out of the total of sixteen participation regional teams.
Qualifiers for the quarter-finals four each from Burao and Hargeisa were to converge in Hargeisa the Somaliland capital for an eight team challenge for the 2015 title of Regional football champions.
At the same time the entire Basketball tournament was supposed to be held in Hargeisa owing to the inadequacy of relevant playing courts in the elimination phase hosting cities of Burao and Borame.
Football teams representing Toghdeer, Sanaag, Badhan, Haysimo, Sool, Daadmadeed and Sarar battled out in Burao for the four quarter finals slots.
Simultaneously and in the west of the country teams from host Awdal, Sahil, Gabile, Maroodi-jeeh, Buhoodle, Hawd and Selel Regions did the same in Borame.
Despite a few hiccups mostly in Borame where an attempt on the life of Awdal governor Ramah was foiled in addition to discovery of child’s corpse dumped next to the stadium the elimination phase concluded in both cities successfully.
From Burao the triumphant quartet of Haysimo, Sool, Sanaag and Daadmadeed regional football teams while from Borame victors representing Awdal, Gabile, Hawd and Sahil regions entered the capital Hargeisa with pomp and glory.
For large reception committees composed of Government ministers, sports officials, and clergy as well and legislators residents originating from the victorious regions were at hand 30 kms east and west of Hargeisa city event was hosted in of the country,
But in the shadows of the championship’s elimination phase and subsequent pomp of victor’s arrival in Hargeisa for the ultimate challenge, a hitherto covert battle within the ruling party Kulmiye leadership was rearing its head overtly.
Unfortunate for the now boisterous youngsters and their supporters who were oblivious of the simmering wrangle in the Kulmiye party thus little knowing that not only will they not kick a ball in competition but end up owing accommodation and meal bills, not to mention the attendant disappointment and embarrassments.
All these because of what our sources at the organizing ministry of sports and youth says was lack of funds earmarked for the quarter, semi and final phase of football and entire basketball tournaments.
At this juncture the Kulmiye party leadership had fractured from within thence the mushrooming of two factions with one aligned Muse Behi and the other an alliance led by then Presidency minister Hirsi Haji Ali and including contenders for nominee of party presidential candidates Mohamed Behi Younis then foreign minister, MP Ahmed Kijande and ex-finance minister Abdiaziz Samale.
“Embroiled in the now overt Kulmiye battle for honours of party flag bearer in national presidential elections slated for the 28th March 2017 the presidency which was funding the games either forgot or refused to supply purse strings to the ministry of sports and youth” said our source who requested anonymity for obvious reasons.
With no end to the political battle within the ruling party and fearful of increasing bills officials of the regional teams had to forceful remove their forgotten now HISSING charges back home, before being thrown out of their hotels.
“Though some remain to-date the bulk of the youthful stars have already left after paying their bills thanks to leaders and residents from the respective eight regions who chipped-in financially thence augment the nickels availed by the sports ministry” said our source.
Sad as it is the 2015 Somaliland regional sports championship failed to conclude successfully courtesy of an internal party conflict that refuses to go away.
Sadder still is the disappointment that the Haysimo team that is from a region which is less than a year old, thus first time participants took back home after the glory of trouncing established regional teams during the elimination stage in Burao not mentioning destroyed dreams of making history by winning the ultimate title of 2015 Somaliland regional football champions.
In this list of greater sadness and disappointment add Badhan team from the furthest region and also debutants like the gallant boys from the toddling Haysimo region curved from the chaos of Sool.
but dissapoint is in not using the Dahabshil refurbished Hargeisa stadium being utilized and the glory of youths enjoying the tuff ground not to mention the coverage media houses anticipated from use of a phtography drone supplied by the same company.
In the meantime citizens remain perturbed by the political wrangle which is stretching Kulmiye to bust having resulted in the unprecedented resignation of ten ministers from the administration as well as creating tensions towards the holding of its planned central committee meeting slated for 10th November when two persons shall be nominated as official nominees to contest the office of Somaliland president and vice president in general elections planned for early 2017.
More sadly is the fact that the ministry of youth and sports in the guise of government never neither issued a statement of the reasons behind the failed tournament nor issued an apology.
And as we go to press the Kulmiye internal elections have competed with Muse Behi and Abdirahman Sayli elected party flag bearers for candidacy in presidential slated for Somaliland in 2017.
Hopefully sane minds shall prevail and resuscitate the abandon games
As it is now, one will not fail to wonder whether the several times postponed general elections shall actually be held as planned if the on-goings in Kulmiye are anything to go by.
But until then it is REST in PEACE Somaliland regional sports championship 2015 and as for the disappointed youths and supporters take heart in the knowledge that as usual when bulls fight it is the grass that suffers.
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