At the end of his work trip to Somalia, on Friday 25th of April 2014, the FIFA refereeing instructor and RDO officer Ahmed El Shenawi spoke about his experience in Somalia and in particularly the progress made by the Somali Football Federation, saying he was fully satisfied with the knowledge and experience of local instructor and former international referee Abdi Abdulle Ahmed who did the fitness training sessions.
In an interview with the CECAFA Media department, Mr El Shenawi also explained about how he found Somalia, the difference between what he experienced and what he believed about Somalia before arriving in Mogadishu.
“I always heard in the news that Somalia was no go area, but when I came and toured around many beautiful sites including the Lido Beach resort of Mogadishu, I really found out that Somalia was nicer than I expected and I had enjoyed the beautiful weather” FIFA expert Ahmed El Shenawi said.
He went on to say that he met many football volunteers who received him with good behaviour and extended high profile reception during his stay in the country.
Changes made by the refereeing department
Speaking about the progress made by the Somali Football federation refereeing development department, Mr Ahmed El Shenawi said that Somali referees completely changed in terms of physical structures, endurance and as well as experience.
“Several times we did such course in Djibouti and to my experience we had only 5% of the trainees passed in fitness tests, but now I am very happy that I have witnessed them pass 100%–it is not me who did that job, but I would like to praise instructor Abdi Abdulle Ahmed who is to be attributed to that major approach of success” expert Ahmed El Shenawi told in his interview with CECAFA Media.
He said that local instructor and former international football referees Abdi Abdulle Ahmed (Baasaale) who did the fitness lessons was well experienced and had played his role professionally adding he was very sure that now Somalia has at least one fitness instructor who can do such international level even.
“Generally I was satisfied with the referees’ class attendance and their participation of fitness sessions and I can say that Somalia was on the way to culminate in a higher development of football” FIFA expert Ahmed EL Shenawi noted during the interview.
Somalia and world cup officiating hopes.
After decades of setbacks caused by lawlessness in the country, FIFA refereeing expert Ahmed El Shenawi hoped that Somalia will soon have its international referees to officiate big events like FIFA world cup.
“The correct time has now arrived and Somalia have the correct people, so I am fully hopeful that Somali soccer referees will be able to officiate FIFA world cup matches in the years to come—I am saying this because of what I have witnessed” the expert said.
History rewrites back.
Somalia had its last FIFA level refereeing course organized in the country 25 years ago and it was conducted by Mustafa Kamil of Egypt and for that reason Ahmede El Shenawi believed that his arrival in Mogadishu had rewritten a past history.
“Before the collapse of Somalia, the last FIFA expert to conduct a refereeing course in Somalia was Mustafa Kamil (Egypt) and fortunately 25 years later, it is me another Egyptian who arrived here for the same event to reopen the door for the arrivals of more FIFA refereeing experts in the country” El Shenawi said.
“In fact, the history had rewritten with my arrival here—it is a unique success for both Mustafa Kamil and for me” FIFA expert Ahmed El Shenawi said before his departure from Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International airport on Friday 25th of April 2014.
By Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar
CECAFA Media Committee