Somali Football Federation (SFF) has turned its back on the welfare of country’s national team with eight of international players detained at transit airports for lack of “visa arrangements”, an open letter wrote by the players confirmed in less than two weeks after the Ocean Stars were defeated by Oman national team.
On 20th of last month, the country’s national managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after a match against Oman national team ended 2-1 in a game that was played at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, with the later emerging triumphant in FIFA Arab Cup in 2021.
Somali national football team players. pic.twitter.com/fQrRHz5y6z
— Nasra B. Ali (@NasraBashiir) July 2, 2021
In media briefing, the team’s ex-captain, Ahmed Saed Asanyo who also took part in the game had blamed SFF for the defeat, arguing the body never facilitated any training for the last two years.
“Oman did not beat us, Somali Football Federation defeated us…. We deserve more, we did not to Oman (but), we lost the Somali Football Team,” Asanyo lamented.
The lettter dated 2nd of July exposed that the players have been lacking health care, saying team faces risk of contracting COVID-19 and other diseases due lack of proper health care management.
“We didn’t follow no-COVID protocol. We didn’t have any risk assessment and health monitoring activities during our training camp in Djibouti (no sanitising, no facemask, no temperature check, no COVID tests),” the letter reads in part.
The players urged the football’s world governing body which backs Somalia’s SFF, to intervene in the situation by investigating the allegations against SFF.
“As its essential to move forward and build trust amongst all parties, we ask the FIFA to have a look and analyse the situation,” the country’s national players said. “As the Somali National team players delegation, we are urging the FIFA to ask for more transparency and accountability.”
Nepotism and personal interests
The letter further accused some of the country’s footballing heads of mismanaging the team, citing nepotism as a major cause.
According to the letter, ‘there had been several unfair selection processes of Somali national team’ as some of the upcoming and talented players denied fair chances.
“There have been various other interests involved by selection our national team. Most recently, the SFF involved 12 local players from the Somali premier league, knowing that majority wouldn’t be included and whilst the final list was already submitted,” the players explained in the letter.
Said Habeih, head of recruitment of the National Team was also accused of registering himself player agent.
“Besides that, he is a registered intermediary with personal interest in our national team players. This is against all rules and a conflict of interest,” the letter noted.