Somali football fans: We stand with Turkish national team

By Mohammed Dhaysane

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) – As the European Championship tournament kicked off Friday, Somali football fans expressed support for the Turkish national team who faced Italy in the first match of the tournament.

Turkey is enjoying popularity in the horn of African country as it squared off against Somalia's former colonial power although Italy is popular among older Somalians.

"I am not an expert in Football, but when it comes to Turkey and Italy by default i support Turkey,” one fan told Anadolu Agency via Twitter.

Bashir Ali, a football enthusiast told the Turkish news agency in Mogadishu that he is supporting the Turkish national team because he likes Turkey as a country.

"I am not supporting the Turkish national team because Turkey is a Muslim country but because Turkey is a country I love a lot," he said.

Nour Jeylani, a middleman in the Hamarjajab neighborhood said that Turkey has a historic relationship with Somalia beginning with the Ottoman rule.

"I was supporting Italy growing up but now, given the Turkish government’s help to Somalia and the historic relationship, I am supporting the Turkish national football team," Jeylani said while holding a Somalia flag.

“We are with Turkey and I believe that Turkey has a good squad to go all the way to the finals and win the European championships,” another fan told Anadolu Agency.

To get to the final, Turkey will have to regroup after losing 3-0 in the opening match of the tournament,