Deaf footballers in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu have set up their own league after they faced difficulties joining mainstream football teams, the BBC reported today.
“We were not given equal chance with others, so we decided to form our own league. We are 30 players now,” one of the footballers said. “We have got huge support from the city residents who come to watch us and give us support.”
The teams play in an annual Ramadan tournament in Mogadishu. Unable to hear the football referee’s whistle, players must remain aware of the referee’s actions and stop play when there is a foul.
In the city, football is providing those with hearing impediments an opportunity to showcase their talent, but players want recognition for their sport at Somalia’s Football Federation.
“Being deaf doesn’t mean being unable to play football. People play football with their legs, not ears,” a Somali football spectator said.
Somalia has been riddled with domestic fragility and weak governance for over a decade amid an uptick of terrorism across the country, the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution to postponed the scheduled withdrawal of African Union troops.