Issak Ahmed Hussein the captain of Towfik Internally Displaced Persons Football Team was looking forward to the football match against African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) soldiers stationed in Jowhar, the capital of Hirshabelle State.
Previously, when the football opponents faced each other five years ago, the match ended in goalless draw with no team managing to score.
This time around, despite the pulsating, end-to-end match that left partisan supporters yearning for more, the 90-minute game yet again ended in a barren draw.
Although no goals were scored Hussein expressed satisfaction with the match’s outcome.
“We have had a friendly match with BNDF on several occasions, and we are delighted to continue participating in similar activities to enhance cooperation between civilians and the military,” said Hussein.
He commended the strong defensive lines of both teams, that made it difficult for the strikers to find the back of the net, perhaps justifying the fair result of a draw.
The Deputy Chairperson of Towfik IDP Camp, Abdikadir Aden Haji, who doubled as the team manager echoed the captain’s sentiments and commended the players for their remarkable skills and sportsmanship during the match.
“In 2018, we had a similar encounter that ended in a tie. Today, both teams competed and ended in a tie again. We are delighted to share this welcoming attitude as we celebrate the new year 2024,” said Haji.
Major Michael Ndikuriyo, ATMIS Deputy Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) officer in Sector Five, praised both teams for honouring the match, emphasizing that such gestures contribute to enhancing relationship between AU troops and the local communities.
“As you are aware, our objective is to alleviate the suffering of people during or after a conflict. To achieve this, we must establish and maintain positive relationships between the community and ATMIS,” said Maj. Ndikuriyo.
He added that the match aimed to strengthen the cordial working relationship between the military and the community in their daily military operations within the Middle Shabelle region.
According to senior officials of the Burundi National Defence Forces, the objective of the tournament was to foster stronger bonds between ATMIS troops and the local community, while at the same time promoting sports as a tool for conflict resolution.
The event targeted IDPs residing in the Towfik Camp, who were displaced from their original homes by the recent El Nino-induced floods.
Sports play a key role within a peacekeeping mission by not only nurturing talents and promoting discipline but also fostering positive relations between the troops and the community.
The tournament attended by various ATMIS officials showcased a highly competitive football match between Towfik IDP camp and BNDF troops.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).