Somalia’s national soccer team has began preparations ahead of their game with Niger in the round one for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Russia.
On September 9, the Ocean Stars will shift their training camp to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for one month, in preparation for the first round game against the Niger’s Menas on October 9.
The winner in the two-leg tie between Niger and Somalia, will advance to round two and face Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions.
The Somali Football Federation (SFF) hired Ugandan coaches Livingstone Mbabazi and his assistant James Magala to facilitate the training.
James Magala, the assistant national team coach said camping in Ethiopia will enable the national team to play a number of friendly matches with Ethiopian clubs and the Ethiopian national team. Magala said, “There is no country willing to come here (Somalia). That’s why we want to go to Ethiopia to have international friendly games so that they can get the experience before Niger. I think after those games, they will gain something before we go to the game.”
Abdiqani Said Arab, the President of the Somali Football Federation (SFF) hopes to woo foreign-based players of Somali descent playing in soccer leagues of Netherlands, England, Germany, Turkey and Kuwait.
According to Abdiqani, moving the training camp to Addis Ababa one month in advance will enable players adapt to the weather conditions. Abdiqani said, “We have managed to arrange for the team to go to Ethiopia wherethey will stay for one month. This is to enable them adapt to the weather and the stadium and get motivated as the players play in a place different from their home as other national teams do. At that venue they will stay for one month and all those facilities. The Ethiopians have accepted and we will face Niger god-willing, on October 9; and the return leg will be in Niamey on October 13.”
Hassan Ali Roble “Babay”, the Somalia national team captain said the team is training hard in order to win the game and qualify for round two.“We want to bring back something to make the people happy. If we win, it will be for us as Somalia. We will get a name, dignity and we need to beat Niger, Cameroon and make history and play in the qualifiers,” said Hassan