Mogadishu Basketball Match


Horseed and Burundian peacekeepers pose for a group photo before the basketball friendly match

A game of basketball, plenty of food accompanied by Somali and Burundian tunes marked the second basketball friendly match between the Somali National Army and Burundian peacekeepers in a bid to improve relations between the two friendly countries and their forces.

Played under the soaring Mogadishu midday sun, the game was quickly determined. After almost an hour of a gruesome game the Burundians emerged victorious winning by 56 baskets to 47 in a tightly contested match played on Saturday June 15 at the Jalle Siyad military academy which is currently used as a base for the Burundian peacekeepers.

Mogadishu city is enjoying its most peaceful spell in recent years since the Somali government with help of the African Union peacekeepers, AMISOM routed out Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militants from the Somali capital heralding a new sense of nationalism among Somalis and spurring an economic boom as Somalis return to rebuild their country.

“It is so nice playing with our Burundian brothers. The game is a source of relaxation and fitness for us. It has also given us the opportunity to make friends with the Burundian peacekeepers and share a light moment with them, we are so grateful for their hospitality and support,” Hussein Mohamed Ahmed, one of the Somali players said after the game.

Girls Cheer Team

Horseed and Burundian players tussle for a ball

The Somali army team, locally known as Horseed, won the first game played on 20 May beating the Burundians by 10 baskets with a score of 63-53. A previous game of volleyball played last month as part of the sports for friendship series was won by the Burundians.

“Somalia and Burundi share a long history. They helped train for us 12 air force pilots in 1974 and we are now peacekeepers here. We organized these games in order to strengthen the friendship between our two countries and forces.”

“After the games we eat lunch, dance to Somali and Burundian songs and simply have a good time! We have a hard time battling the Al-Shabaab threat together so why can’t we enjoy together?” quipped Major Nimubona Ernest, the Burundian contingents public information officer.

The game attracted a good number of fans with the Somali army bringing a girls cheer team that roared and clapped whenever they made a fancy move or scored a basket.
Not to be outclassed, the Burundian basketball team had their own compatriots and comrades at arms ready to cheer and urge them forward.
After the game, the Somali and Burundian players embraced and together with their set of fans and friends sat for a sumptuous lunch served by Burundian women soldiers.

“This is my eighth day in Mogadishu and I can already see how great this country once used to be. We are so glad to welcome you and to play with you. I hope you enjoyed your time with us here and we wish to promise you of our continued support until Somalia stands on its feet,” Burundi Contingent deputy commander Colonel Sosthene Ndereyimana told the Somali players and their fans.

Credit: Guled Mohamed