Old enough, but still with full eagerness for sport in his mind, the founder of the National Olympic committee of Somalia Mr. Ali Omar Sheegow has called on the federal government of Somalia to prioritize sport as a peace building and public integration tool in the country where sport had played a key role in peace promotion through sports for peace programs for the past two decades of lawlessness and civil wars in the war-weary horn of African Nation.
Mr. Sheegow delivered the call during a high profile meeting with members from Somali Sporting family under the leadership of Somali NOC Secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah when they visited the veteran sporting leader at his home in the city of Manchester northwest of England over the weekend.
“I kindly thank you for travelling from so far distance to see me—your arrival here tonight clearly indicates that sport in Somalia is all about unity and that you still have more respect for the past leaders, I pray for you and I wish you very successful sport for peace in Somalia” the veteran leader told the visiting delegation which included former NOCSOM executive committee members, legends, fans and journalists.
“I am very happy with how Somali NOC and its member federations had worked to protect Somali Sport from collapse—I am aware that key volunteers including former leaders of Somali NOC and Somali football federation were killed in the country’s lawlessness, but however you faced hardships, I am delighted that due to your bravery and dedication sport in Somalia was still promoting” the founder of Somali Olympic committee Ali Omar Sheegow told the visiting officials over the weekend.
A minute of silence was observed in the memory of scores of sporting volunteers who were killed in Somalia since the country fell into anarchy in 1991.
For his part, Somali NOC secretary General Duran Ahmed Farah who was leading the NOCSOM delegation said that he took notes from the constructive ideas and suggestions by the Somali NOC founder promising that Somali NOC will apply the crucial suggestions in its future development programs.
“We came here with the knowledge of the NOCSOM president and executive committee members and we did so because of two reasons—in one respect it was to gather ideas and experience from the NOCSOM founder and the other objective was to visit him and learn about the current life of the veteran leader” said NOCSOM secretary General adding that more other visits will follow in the future.
Born in the coastal village of Mareeg east of the country on 20th of July 1924, Mr. Ali Omar Sheegow founded the Somali Olympic committee on December 12 1959.
Mr. Sheegow was one of 13 Somali young men who took over the Somali Sports administration from the Italian colonizers before independence: those included former Somali FA and NOCSOM president the late Farah Addo, Nur Hussein Abdi (Nur Jenyo) himself a former Somali FA president who died in exile in August 2007 and Current president of Somali Athletics Federation Prof Mohamed Ali Mohamed.
After Somalia fell into chaos Mr Sheegow fled to Italy to escape from civil wars in the country and he lived in the Italian capital of Rome for years, but he later moved to Manchester where he has been living for the past 5 years.
The veteran sporting leader said he would like to go back to the country to spend the rest of his life there, but still Somalia is a volatile territory the fact that Sheegow’s home village of Mareeg is still under the control of the notorious Al-Qaeda proxy militants of Al Shabab.
By Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar