By Abdirisak Itaqile

Hargeisa, (Somaliland Monitor) -Somaliland’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Abdirisak Waberi Roble has on Saturday inaugurated a three-week long football tournament in the capital intended to promote social integration through sports.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps, the Youth Integration Tournament aims to bring together youths from different social backgrounds for joint sporting activities that will help facilitate an environment in which they all interact.

The tournament’s opening ceremony held inside Hargeisa Stadium was attended by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Abdirisak Waberi Roble, Deputy Sports Minister, Abdirashid Mohamed Kahin, the directors of Sports and Planning departments of the ministry, Mohamed Nuoh Jibril and Abdirashid Aided Yasin, Mercy Corps representative Olad Farah and other guests.
In his opening remarks, Sports Minister Abdirisak Waberi thanked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps for their continuous support to the ministry and the youth in the country. Minister Roble also urged the youngsters to enjoy the opportunity presented to them by the two agencies.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the games, Minister Raigal thanked the USAID and Mercy Corps for their continuous support to his ministry and the youth in the country. He said football and basketball are universal sports that have large following in Somaliland. He urged the youngsters to enjoy the opportunity presented to them by the two agencies.

“I wish to thank Mercy Corps and USAID for supporting this sporting event. I want the youths to know that we are all working for their better future because a sport in general is good for the physical wellbeing by keeping their body and mind healthy,” Minister Roble said before kicking a ball to open the sports tournament.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Sports Minister, Abdirashid Mohamed Kahin thanked USAID and Mercy Corps for funding and organizing the tournament.

Other officials who also spoke at the ceremony include the directors of Sports and Planning departments of the ministry, Mohamed Nuoh Jibril and Abdirashid Aided Yasin as well as the chairman of Somaliland Football Federation.

Speaking on behalf of Mercy Corps, Education Specialist Olad Farah thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports for their cooperation and excellent working relationship with Mercy Corps and promised more support for youth programs.

Ministry of Civil Aviation Football team and Hargeisa Municipality Football team clashed the tournament’s opening game where Hargeisa Municipality team won the game in a score of 1-0.

Enabled by Somcable’s fiber-optic network infrastructure the games of the tournament can be watched live through True Cable TV.

Mercy Corps says sport is a human right and a vital tool for youth growth, learning and social development. The organization tackles many different issues in areas affected by natural disasters and conflict using a variety of sport-based activities.

Is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Somaliland Monitor. Prior founding Somaliland Monitor he served as the editor-in-chief of The Independent English newspaper, a sister publication of Hubaal daily Somali newspaper.

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