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 They have either not qualified or withdrawn from any major tournament, with the CECAFA Cup being the only tournament they at least somewhat regularly took part in.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.
When I received the away version of this shirt just last December, I was over the moon! Finally, after years of unsuccessfully messaging Somali players and officials, I managed to get a Somalia shirt, thanks to the help of a friendly collector. For years, this was the rarest and most sought after national team shirt of all, usually being the last one that every collector had to get to eventually finish their collection. Just four months after relishing the feeling of owning this rarity, Somalia shirts started appearing on Twitter, making what was once the holy grail of national shirts a mere add-to-bag purchase. This goes to show that what once was a challenging quest, is now becoming easier and easier, with many previously extremely hard-to-get countries such as Chad, Seychelles or the Republic of the Congo turning into easy purchases.
Nonetheless, it's great for Somali manufacturer A2Z to have the chance to get their shirt into collectors' wardrobes around the world. Despite being a small local company, the shirts are well manufactured and feature nice details, like the embroidered applications and faded stripes.
The design was first used, when Somalia faced Tanzanian side Young Africans FC in a friendly match in preparation of their AFCON qualifiers against Eswatini just a few weeks later.