Somalia’s Football Federation (SFF) and the country’s Youth Advocacy Organisation (SYAO) have staged a ‘Football for Peace’ tournament for four districts in the war-ravaged city of Mogadishu, the first of its kind to be held in the Somali capital for more than 20 years.

The knockout competition was held for the districts of Hodon, Wardhiigley, Kaaraan and Abdel Aziz, with two out of the four having been ‘no go’ areas for the past two and a half years.

It was the players from the Hodon district who went home the happiest after their 1-0 win in the final over Kaaraan.

The second deputy president of the Somali Football Federation, Abdullahi Abow Hussein, said that the competition was intended to encourage the reopening of highways in the capital and in particular the ones that serve the four districts.

“We are very grateful to the SYAO for sponsoring this Football For Peace tournament and we urge them to keep spreading the message of peace throughout all of Somalia,” he said during the closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon, before presenting the winners’ trophy to Abid Mohamed Yusuf, the captain of the Hodon team.

In response SYAO chairman Mohamed Ajib confirmed that his organisation will be using football as a tool for peace-building and hopes that the SFF and his organisation will stage similar Football for Peace tournaments throughout Somalia in the coming months and years.