Senior FIFA officials makes historic visit to Somalia

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AT THE END of his two-day official trip to Somalia, FIFA senior manager
for Africa development Mr. Zelkifli Ngoufonja announced a number of
development projects to be implemented in Somalia.
Mr. Ngoufonja became the highest-ranking FIFA official to ever arrive in
Somalia and his tour to the war-devastated country has been recognized by
the SFF as ‘a significant’ step forward for the country’s football
progression.
Before flying back to FIFA home on Friday, Mr. Zelkifli Ngoufonja and
Somali FA president Abdiqani Said Arab held a joint press conference to
update the media on the football development in the country and how FIFA
was turning much attention to Somalia.
Somali Football Federation President Abdiqani Said Arab said that the
reason for the arrival of the senior FIFA official was mainly to see the
progress on the ground and study SomaliaÂ’s current needs,
He added that FIFA sent the official with the request from his federation
which asked the world body to come and see what was going on in Somalia
after years of bloody conflicts.
He said the visit was the first of its kind by a top-ranking FIFA official
to the country in SomaliaÂ’s football history.
“Such a historic visit by our brother Zelkifli Ngoufonja to Somalia was
very important for us at the moment, because he studied much about the
development programs implemented so far and as well as the huge needs we
currently have” SFF president told the media.
He said that today FIFA realized that Somalia changed a lot and the
security situation in the country was improving, after Zelkifli Ngoufonja
has travelled different locations and enjoyed the beautiful weather in the
country.
“I thank our brother Zelkifli Ngoufonja for accepting to come to Somalia
and his arrival here will actually open the doors for more FIFA presence
in Somalia” SFF president Abdiqani Said Arab explained.
During 2015, FIFA will implement more development programs in Somalia
including the construction of the SFF headquarters, technical centre and
as well as the construction of a new soccer facility.
The president displayed hundreds of footballs which he said were part of
the additional FIFA assistance to Somalia.
“These footballs are intended for the country’s football development and
we will provide them with the clubs, regions” the president said adding
that the footballs will also be used for youth development and as well as
grassroots programs across the country.
On his side, FIFA senior manager for Africa development Mr. Zelkifli
Ngoufonja, said he was very fortunate and even honoured to be in Somalia.
“Before I arrived in Somalia, I didn’t know about Somalia apart from the
president and members of the executive committee and some Somali friends I
have abroad, but know I have more experience about Somalia” Mr.
Zelkifli Ngoufonja said thanking the Somali FA officials and the people of
Somalia for the high profile welcome he received during his stay in the
country.
“I got to Somalia and I fell in love with Somalia, because of the nice
weather and the good hospitality the SFF extended to me” he said.
“My arrival here in Somalia, for us it was to send a message to the people
of Somalia to show them that they havenÂ’t been forgotten by the football
family—it has been a long time to come to Somalia, but I am happy that we
are finally here after a very long time of absence” the senior FIFA
official noted.
He said that during the two days he was in the country, it was a very good
opportunity for both FIFA and Somali FA to discuss on various projects
which will be implemented in Somalia in the future.
“There are a number of FIFA services we could not implement in Somalia,
because we didnÂ’t know how the situation in Somalia was, but now we have
much better vision about the security situation in Somalia and as well as
the football environment and the community in general” he added.
“I watched one of the league matches and I really enjoyed it” he continued.
He appreciated the cooperation between Somali government and Somali
Football Federation, saying it was helping the promotion of football in
Somalia.
“It was good to see the president of the republic of Somalia coming to the
stadium and watching a football game last year—we are happy that Somali
government is doing well to support the federation and I urge for the
strengthening of such a beautiful cooperation” the FIFA official
explained.
Alongside Somali FA officials, Mr. Zelkifli Ngoufonja walked on foot from
his hotel to the airport to show the world that the security situation in
Somalia was improving. The officials walked a distance of 600meters from
the hotel to the airport.
Mr Zelkifli Ngoufonja was seen off at the airport by Somali FA president
Abdiqani Said Arab, his senior Vice president Ali Abdi Mohamed and members
of the executive committee.