AFT introducing itself: what is our vision?
The annual Amsterdam Futsal Tournament (AFT) is coming up! Curious who is playing and organising this European event in Amsterdam? Here we present to you some of the faces behind this football and basketball event, and ask them their view on matters concerning sports, Somalia and the Netherlands.
Meet Abdinour and Said – Organisers of AFT!
Meet Abdinour (left, 26) and Said (right, 30). These guys are the ones who manage the subscriptions, keep in contact with all the teams and manage the schedule of the AFT. Maybe the teamwork is so great because they have known each other for almost 20 years! We sat down and talked about the position of the Somali Diaspora in the Netherlands, the importance of football, women and sports and their own biggest dream…
“I want to own my own financial business in Somalia before I turn 50…
and I want become the president of Somalia!”
“I want to help with the reconstruction of Somalia, that is my biggest dream!
…and be your Vice-President.”
“By organising sports projects we try to increase their defensibility”
What is the position of the Somali Diaspora youth in the Netherlands?
Said: “It is fragmented; we are all over the Netherlands. There is little to no contact outside their own circles. By organising sports projects we try to increase their defensibility and gather people, to network, exchange ideas and for them to get to know each other. We want to introduce them into the society and motivate them to connect with other people. We try to transfer knowledge about different hot topics in the Dutch society and give various information sessions about discrimination, or Islamophobia and constitutional rights. By teaching them these essentials we strive to make them more at ease with the Dutch society and to broaden their horizon.”
What are the biggest challenges for these young people?
Abdinour: “These youngsters are born in Somalia and came to the Netherlands at a young age. Definitely language and education are issues.”
Do they have the same opportunities compared to people from other Diaspora’s?
Said: “It is not possible to compare ourselves with the Moroccan or Turkish Diaspora, they have been here for a long time, for a few generations. We do not have groups to compare ourselves with.”
Importance of Football
What is the importance of football for the Somali Diaspora?
Abdinour: “It brings them together. They are playing sports instead of them getting involved in the wrong scene. Especially football is important for Somali youth.”
"It is a part of the culture."
Said: “It is a part of the culture. Other countries might have something with korfball or basketball…”
Abdinour: “For the Somali youth it is football.”
How big is football in Somalia?
Abdinour: “I am in contact with a lot of Somali people living in Somalia. From stories and images I have seen, football seems to be pretty big in Somalia. I don’t know if they have the facilities to play football. If they are not playing they follow football on TV. They know more about European football than we do. They are true football lovers.”
Could you describe a Somali football fan? We know the Dutch, who go crazy with orange and get dressed.
Said: “It is difficult to describe a Somali hooligan. They are definitely passionate!”
So we can expect a vibrant atmosphere with passionate supporters at AFT, a true party?
Abdinour: “Yes, for sure!!”
Women and Sports
"If a woman plays sports she is dressed in a certain way."
What about women and sports? Should women have the same rights when it comes to play sports?
Said: “Yes definitely.”
Abdinour: “We have a religion and a culture. If a woman plays sports she is dressed in a certain way, which leads to question marks in the society. According to the religion and culture that is not the way a woman should be dressed.”
So it only comes down to the appearance? A woman could play sports if she is dressed appropriately?
Abdinour: “Yes. Back in the days women used to play sports in Somalia.”
Said: “But, back then, questions were not asked about appropriate clothing. Women used to dress differently in a sports outfit, without headscarves or burqa.”
"All around Europe we are the first ones to include women in a sports event like this"
This is the second time you organise women’s basketball as a part of AFT. How big is the interest amongst Somali women?
Said: “Yes there was definitely a need, and it is increasing. As a result there are more subscriptions this year by women’s teams. This is a positive development, because we think women should have the same rights to play sports. At the AFT we provide them a great opportunity.”
If we go back to the discussion on the religious level, how do people react?
Said: “The discussion still exists, and maybe it is good that it continues. All around Europe we are the first ones to include women in a sports event like this. From out HIRDA’s perspective we underline this initiative, so that people are going to discuss this subject and hopefully come to new ideas.”
Abdinour: “The people present at the Basketball competitions were mainly positive about the fact that we organised something especially for women instead of focusing on men only.”
Said: “Those were young guys who maintained this.”
Did you also receive critique?
Said: “We did not receive a critical response, but we were advised to do the basketball separately from the men.”
Abdinour: “We were advised by certain people who knew we were organising this to do hold the basketball in another timeslot, space or day. People did not find it appropriate to hold these competitions of the boys football and girls basketball mixed. We now made sure that the women’s basketball competition is not at the same time or location as the football for men.”
AFT in the Future?
“Different countries or cities rotating every year”
How do you see the future of AFT?
Abdinour: “We are currently doing this in the Netherlands only, but I have been thinking of organising this event in different countries or cities rotating every year. We have HIRDA in the UK and it would be great if they could host AFT in the future.”
Said: “The competition now is held over just a few days’ time. So the organisation of it is crazy. I would love to see the AFT being held over more days so there is time to organise other activities, like discussion seminars and excursions and in order to attract people from abroad.”
These guys have big dreams for Somalia and the AFT. For sure they will make this event a big party not only for the Somali Diaspora, but also for the supporters from all over the country and Europe!
Keep yourself posted by the latest updates on the AFT Facebook and Website!
See you there on the 20 - 22 December 2013!