The impossible journey that became possible. A Somali bandy team to the World Cup a reality!
How did it start?
The history of Somalia bandy has its beginning from two directions. Hans Grandin, then chairman of Borlänge Bandy, went brooded about an integration project where a Somali boy’s national team with roots in Borlänge would be the icing on the cake.
Patrik Andersson heard about this and realized that in order to create a real pressure the idea should be developed to send a Somali national team of Bandy to the Bandy World Championships in Irkutsk.
Through an initiative of Jan-Olof Lundberg, Integration Manager at Borlänge Municipality, met Patrick and Hans in December 2012. Over a cup of coffee at Alma Café in Borlänge they discussed this and before the second cup of coffee was empty the Somalia Bandy existed.
Since Patrick and Hansmet Mursal Isa and Hassanovic Osman Ali from Swesom, the Swedish / Somali football club in Borlänge, very much fell in place. They had thought about what their guys would do in the wintertime and thought bandy could be something to try.
In March 2013 went Hassanovic and four Somali guys (Abdihakiin Mohamed, Mohamed Ahmed, Abdi Aziz and Mohamed Dhegnas) with Borlänge Bandy down to Friends Arena for their first ever bandy game. That it happened to be the national finals in bandy with record attendance and a great atmosphere on ice and grandstand was a bonus. The guys decided to bet on bandy.
At a meeting with the International Bandy Federation, it was clarified that it was possible for Somalia to take part in the World Cup. Through a Somali who moved back to Mogadishu Patrik established contact with the country’s Sports Minister who by the Somali Olympic Committee applied for membership of IBF.
Since then the project has exploded. Media interest was great at the first press conference that was held in the courtyard at the beginning of May. “This year’s most unexpected news” wrote e.g. Aftonbladet. Then step Pelle Fosshaug up for the first time and said that he was going to be the Somali national team coach.
The start-up meeting with the players was held in June. Then Filip and Fredrik attended for the first time to document the history of Somalia Bandy. At the meeting told Pelle Fosshaug what it takes to become good at a sport. The guys were quite clear about the need for training. Since June, they have been training 3-4 times a week on different things that a bandy player must be able to do. A large part of the summer training was roller-skating. Dala Active Skaters lent roller skates and protection and also the conductor, Daniel Sven Olsson.
Cia Embretsen figure skating coach from Falun read about the project and saw an exciting challenge. She joined the group as a skating coach from the second ice session who was in the autumn of 2013. CIA also recruited her classmates Martin Grimlund as a materials liable and Sebastian Dahl as second trainer. The three took care of all the practicalities of logistics, training and materials under the supervision of Pelle Fosshaug and as a part of business in Borlänge Bandy.
Until the end of January the training was going full time with up to four ice sessions a week. Moreover the trip to Irkutsk was planned with all that implies of questions about equipment, visa applications and much more. It can get really cold in Siberia in late January and early February, when the World Cup was played. Everyone was fully aware that the team, who in the short time that we had for training and preparation, would not reap any sporting successes But the trip was all about seeing and learning for future tournaments. Helena Magnusson was a great asset when it came to apply for a visa and arranging the trip.
The World Cup trip was a great experience that is difficult to describe in words. We received a fantastic reception in Russia and the players hailed as heroes of the Russian people. For the trip had even doctor Andreas Westergren joined which was a great asset even if he luckily did not have to do any major action. Team was also strengthening by the Canadian / Somali Anwar Hared. When Anwar made the historic first goal gambling sites had to close, a dividend of 500x the money was more than they could handle. Anwar scored another goal during the World Cup tournament. Even “Jax” Deeq Ahmed Abdulle scored a goal. Our goalkeeper “Caydidde” Ahmed Mohamed had to work hard but also received much praise. During the closing ceremony, he received counter price as most valuable player.
How it went in the World Cup, you can see in the links below.
Link to the schedule for group B.
Link to the results and match reports.
After getting home from the World cup it was a highlight moment when the players and leaders was honored in a sold-out Globe when Filip & Fredrik has invited them to their final podcast.
During spring and summer 2014, the team has been training skates and phys. In mid-August, a training camp was organized in Rättvik and in the end of August the team went on the ice again. It is now 30 players who are involved in training for the 2015 World Cup in Chelyabinsk, Russia. In early December, a selection will be made to the national team. The competition will be open for Somalis from all over the world and there are 18 players that will get to represent Somalia in next year’s World Cup.