Despite their group stage exit, Somalia’s head coach, Nur Mohamed Amin, is extremely proud of his team’s performance at the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Algeria.
The country, from the CECAFA region in the horn of Africa, was making their debut in a continental championship across any age level and managed to earn a point from three matches.
On Friday night, they were defeated 3-0 by group winners Senegal in Constantine.
“No one is happy with a defeat, but me and the team are.” We are overjoyed to be at this point. This is the first time a Somali national team has participated in such an event, and we are inspired. “We got one point from three matches, and that’s something we’ll celebrate,” Nur added.
“Africa has 54 countries, but only 12 can participate in this tournament.” We are one of the twelve. There are better countries than us, with better infrastructure and more stability, who are not like us. We came from a context of conflict and instability in Somalia, yet we made it here. “I am a proud coach,” he continued.
Somalia qualified after defeating South Sudan in the final of the CECAFA regional championships last October.
Nur claims that participating in the competition has given him and the team the desire to return, albeit not for the U17 team, but for the U20, U23, and even senior teams.
“We want to keep improving our football.” The Somali Football Federation and the government are assisting us in our attempts to achieve our objectives. For me, we performed admirably in this competition, and it is something on which we can build. “We will definitely return,” the tactician added.
The Ocean Stars were once punching bags in the East African region, but the confidence they leave Algeria with is anticipated to spread to all of their national teams as they seek to maintain their place at the top table of African football.