Kenya’s lower division side Sindo United will on Saturday take on the Somaliland national football side in the first-ever international friendly to be played at the Hargeisa National Stadium in three decades.
Sindo United, sponsored by The Jefferson Group has been invited by the Somaliland Ministry of Sports courtesy of the country’s embassy in Nairobi as part of its (Somaliland) campaign for international recognition.
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Coached by former Kenya international Boniface Ambani, Sindo United arrived in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa on Friday morning to a red carpet welcome by officials of the Somaliland sports ministry led by Sports Minister Boos Mire, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Liban Gahnug, Director of Civil Service Commission Hamse Suldan, Deputy Governor of Marodi-jeh Khadar Barud and the former minister for Justice Ahmed Adare.
“This is a special game for us. It is the first-ever time we are welcoming a foreign football team here and it means a lot to Somaliland,” Sports minister Boos Mire said.
The team held a training session at the Hargeisa National Stadium in the afternoon with coach Ambani saying the game was not about who wins but to build relations between Kenya and Somaliland.
“I feel honored to be part of a foreign team that plays here for the first time,” said Ambani.
“This should be the first step towards building strong sporting relations between Somaliland and the rest of Africa,” he added.
With Somaliland unrecognized internationally, the relatively unknown football club from Kenya, Sindo United are the first footballing ambassadors who are using sports to help Somalilanders achieve their push for self-determination.
“As an autonomous country that is not recognized by most sporting bodies, our match against Somaliland national team is aimed at telling the world that the youths in Somaliland deserve a sporting chance and that they have a national team too,” the club stated on its social media page.
“The match is aimed at opening up our hosts’ borders to the rest of the world under the tagline ‘Football Beyond Borders,” the club added.
The friendly kicks off at 3pm.
Somaliland Recognition campaign