A long 16-year wait finally came to an end with a sparkling new Stadium Mogadishu re-opening in the Somali capital on Tuesday evening.
Civil unrest and occupation by various forces had seen the 1978-built stadium falling into disrepair over much of the past two decades.
Top Somali Premier League pair Mogadishu City Club and Horseed Sports Club had the honour of featuring in the opening match at the national facility, with the latter winning 2-1. The league returned to action a fortnight ago following a three-month hiatus due to Covid-19.
The venue will also host national team matches in the future with the Ocean Stars forced to play recent matches away.
Somali Football Federation president, Abdiqani Said Arab, said that the reopening match of the facility will be recognised as the biggest football development in the country in 2020.
Stadium Mogadishu is now ready and the Somali Football Federation is pleased to announce that Ocean Stars will be able to play their home games in the country. We will also use the facility to host other football activities.
The new federation headquarters will be built next to the venue with financial assistance from FIFA.
Meanwhile, Waamo Football Stadium, in the key port city of Kismayo some 500 kilometres south of the capital Mogadishu, which is being reconstructed under the FIFA Forward Project, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Somalia took part in the opening round of CAF FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers last September but, after playing their home match in Djibouti, suffered a narrow 3-2 aggregate defeat against Zimbabwe.
Image courtesy of FIFA.