FIFA instructor Ulric Mathiot praised the preparations made by the Somali Football Federation which hosted an international level coaching course at home for the first time in nearly 30 years.
The FIFA instructor also lauded for the peaceful atmosphere in Somalia which he said made him possible to conduct a high level course in the country. He told this in an interview with CECFA media here in Mogadishu on Monday. The interview begins here,
Q: How did you find Somalia during your stay in Mogadishu?
A: Somalia is better and that is why we have been here for the past week, Somali Football Federation is doing a very better job by using football as a tool of peace building and youth development. What I have seen here and what I was thinking of Somalia are totally different.
Q: Do you think this kind of course will make changes in terms of the promotion of football in this war-devastated country?
A:Yes, definitely very sure, because we all know that Somalia was behind all other FIFA member nations and that is why Somalia didn’t get more chances like other countries did and that was because of the terrible situation the country experienced. FIFA is fully concerned about Somalia and I am sure that Somalia has advantaged a lot from the course.
Q: What kind of message do you think the organization of the course here in Mogadishu will send the world of football?
A: I think It will send a great message to FIFA, because Somali government, Somali Football Federation and the entire Somali people have proofed to FIFA that Somali FA can host its courses at home and that Somalia was ready to receive all chances that other countries do get, lawlessness was what protecting Somalia from holding its FIFA events at home, but now that is gone.
Q: How was the attendance of the trainees during the course?
A: Actually excellent, we have had very high level course and the trainees were fully committed to the course, they were asking me a lot of questions and I found them as one of the best people I have ever trained. The first day we had 20 kids in the practical session and they were increasing day by day—Yesterday Sunday we have had 120 kids and Today we have 300 kids in the training session. Meanwhile I would like to praise the Somali Football Federation for the high quality preparations for the course.
Q: Would you suggest that Somalia needs more other such courses?
A: definitely I am sure that Somalia needs more grassroots courses, because grassroots is where we start football and Somalia dint get such basic course before, so they need and I am hopeful that football in Somalia will top high if such basic courses continue here. With the implementation of this course I see bright football future in Somalia and that is why I am saying they need other such courses. FIFA only wanted the proof that Somalia can host a FIFA course.
Q: Do you have a particular message for FIFA development authorities about what has been accomplished here?
A: I have recorded films from the very beginning of the course until the end and when FIFA sees those films, I am sure they will be very happy with what has been done in Somalia and that will be enough example for the FIFA development department.
Q: Finally how had the course gone?
A:The course had gone very smoothly and I can describe is as a very successful course, every day we did theory and practical sessions, rather than the commitment of the trainees what made me very happy was that the Somali Football Federation authorities, the president, secretary General members of the executive committee and all staff members were with from the very beginning to the end of the course—this shows how fully Somalia is committed to the promotion of the beautiful game.
Meanwhile, in a bid to know more about the participants and how they were happy with such course, we have interviewed former national team member Abdi Mohamed Mahmoud better known as Abdi John and i have asked several questions about the course.
Q: How did you find the grassroots course?
A: First of all on the behalf of my colleagues I would like to thank Somali Football Federation for making sure that we have our courses here in Mogadishu, then I thank my instructor Ulric Mathiot for coming to teach us.
Q: what do you think you have gained from the course?
A: For us this was an unprecedented course and we have advantaged a lot from it, because we never know how to start football from the bottom and how to education children as 6 to 12 years of age in football. As you know I was member of the national team I am just retiring and the knowledge i have acquired from this course will help me in my new era as a coach.
Q: As you have been given the chance to speak on the behalf of your colleagues what kind of message would you like to send?
A: thanks for asking me such very important question, I would like to tell Somali Football Federation authorities that we will soon practice what we have learned from here and we have the capacity to make a real change in terms of educating school children under football. We demand Somali Football Federation to Ask FIFA give us more other such courses. We are grateful to our football Federation for the huge job in the country.
Interviewed By Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar
Somali FA media officer