In a country that has been shaken by civil wars and unrests for decades, petty things like football quickly become a side note. Consequently, Somalia’s national team has never been active for a longer period of time, thus making it impossible to form a stable squad. This also reflects in the list of Somalia’s most capped players, which is led by Yasin Ali Egal with not more than 19 caps.
On that account, it’s not surprising that the Somali team has become one of the weakest teams in the world. They have either not qualified or withdrawn from any major tournament, with the CECAFA Cup being the only tournament they at least somewhat regularly took part in.
Recent years have brought a bit of stability to the country and therefore also within the national team. Players from the vast Somali diaspora in Europe have been acquired, finally forming a competitive team that has achieved some respectable successes in their recent games, like a fifth place in the 2019 CECAFA Cup, as well as the country’s first ever win in a World Cup qualifier.
Prospects are finally looking a bit better for the East African nation and its football team.
When the team is given the chance to play more frequently with its current line-up and the Somali Football Federation continues to professionalize, the “Ocean Stars”, as they are nicknamed, Somalia might be able to become a serious competitor in African football.
Along with Djibouti and Sudan, Somalia is known for being the hardest country to get a shirt of. I’ve been in contact with players, federation staff and manufacturers for years, trying to get my hands on a Somalia shirt, but even if someone is willing to help, strict postal regulations only allow documents to be sent from Somalia to Europe, making it nearly impossible to receive a shirt from within the country.
I was able to get a supposedly matchworn Somalia shirt for my collection a while ago, but for now, I haven’t been able to prove that this model has ever been worn by the team.
With more and more Somali players coming from European countries, shirts seem to be a bit more accessible now. Also, Somali manufacturer A2Z have started selling official Somalia jerseys in Mogadishu, but despite their plans on selling them in Europe, they still haven’t found a way to do so.
Thankfully, fellow collector Fred has put his diplomatic connections to use once again and managed to acquire a few shirts directly from Mogadishu!
Made by local brand “A2Z”, the shirt is of surprisingly good quality and comes with embroidered badges and rubberized numbers. The design looks quite plain from afar, but it actually has an interesting yellow pattern on it.
Unlike its predecessor, this model hasn’t been used by the national team, yet, but will probably be worn in Somalia’s 2022 games.
With Somalia now ticked off the list, my itch for Somalia shirts still hasn’t been scratched, however, as I will continue to try and get a matchworn shirt straight from a player.