The completion of the renovation works means the team will now play at home after a 16-year wait Somalia national team coach Said Abdi Haibeh has revealed his elation after the completion of the Mogadishu Stadium.
The completion of Somalia's biggest stadium means the Ocean Stars will now host their international matches at the facility. Somalia have been hosting matches in Djibouti for the last 16 years due to security issues in their country.
“The players and I are all looking forward to enjoying at home and play in front of tens of thousands of home-based Somali fans,” Haibeh told the Somali Football Federation (SFF) website.Editors' Picks Fifa blocks Tanta SC from fielding Sofapaka striker John Avire – Kalekwa AFC Leopards bus set to be repossessed by Kakamega hotel over unpaid bills Caf Champions League: We missed training because Gor Mahia failed to provide a bus - USM Alger Chelsea can be the best again, but they need Abramovich back at Stamford Bridge - Ivanovic
“It was a great honour for me to select and act as the manager of the history-making Somali national football team last year. The players are well-prepared and ready for the national duties including international friendlies.
“However, I believe that the home atmosphere is going to be electric. This is the long-standing dream of Somali Football Federation authorities and it will soon be true if Allah allows.”
Haibeh further lauded fans who have been supporting the team even when they were playing in foreign lands.
“During the 2019 edition of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, the Somali football supporters in Uganda organised by the Somali Sports Association headed by Omar Ali came to support us during every game and outnumbered the fans of our opponents,” added the coach.
“Even when we played against the home team [the Cranes of Uganda] it was like we played in Mogadishu.
“I can’t forget to thank Somalis in South Africa who travelled all the way to Harare, Zimbabwe to cheer the team when we had the second leg of Fifa World Cup qualifier clash in Zimbabwe.
“I am also sending a big thank you to the Somali community in Zimbabwe for their good organization to support the team.”
Ocean Stars captain Ahmed Said Ahmed did not hide his happiness that their home stadium is now complete.
“I will be honoured to lead the team out for their first home game at Mogadishu Stadium after decades,” Ahmed told the SFF's website as well.
During the opening ceremony, the SFF president Abdiqani Said Arab said they will build their offices next to the new stadium.
“Mogadishu Stadium is now ready and Somali Football Federation is pleased to announce that Ocean Stars will be able to play their home games in the country," Arab said on July 1 when he commissioned the use of the stadium.
“We will also use the facility to host other football activities.”Article continues below
Premier League sides Mogadishu City Club and Horseed Sports Club featured in the opening match of the stadium.