Sunday November 15, 2015
By Mathew Di Salvo
A Somali football team from Bristol will be heading to Sweden to represent their country – and city – in an international tournament.
Bristol Brothers FC, based in Barton Hill, won a Somali UK football competition in London and will now travel to Stockholm to play against other Somalian teams from Europe.
At an awards evening in Brunel House, Marvin Rees, Labour’s candidate in next year’s mayoral elections, and Somali councillor Hibaq Jama, were there to present a trophy and certificates.
It will be the first time a Somali team from Bristol has represented the UK in an international tournament.
Star player 20-year-old Abdul Razak Ahmad, who scored the winning goals in the final in London, said: “I have never been anywhere else so I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good opportunity.”
Bristol Brothers FC beat Somalian teams from Manchester, London, Birmingham and Liverpool to get the opportunity to play European teams.
They will play 13 other teams from other European countries made up of Somalian players – including Italy, Germany, Denmark and Norway.
Abdul Ahmad, chair of the British Somali Forum, said: “Football is always something that brings people together. We should be there not only to support but to represent the whole of the Somali community. Every team wants to bring the cup to their city. This team has worked hard for it.”
The competition takes place in the Stockholm suburb of Spånga every year.
Over two weeks, 14 Somali teams from all over Europe compete in front of thousands of fans and others gathered for the football and other Somali cultural events.
Head coach Mohammed Al Hassan said: “It feels good to take them abroad. It is the first time we have done this.”
Bristol Brothers FC is made up of players aged 16 to 23.
The team was formed not only to get Somalians in the city together for sport but to help youngsters do something positive.
They will head to Sweden in February.
There are Somali migrants in Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa.
The country in Europe that has the most Somali people is the UK, where there are around 103,000.
Following the UK is Sweden, where there are 57,752, and Norway, which is home to 60,651. Finland’s third largest ethnic minority – after Russians and Estonians – are Somalis, and the country has some 16,721 living there.
The Asian country with the largest Somali population is Yemen, where around 200,000 live.