As far as Somalia’s national football team coach, Haruna Mawa is concerned, the regional tournament, CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup will serve as an ‘experimental ground’ for his new side.
Appointed head coach early this month after fellow Ugandan Matia Lule declined the job offer, Mawa, Livingston Mbabazi’s successor looks to build and implement new ideas into his new side as he waits for his first assignment.
The former SCVU coach whose job description includes managing all age groups says CECAFA will give him a clear picture of what he and his assistant Moses Oloya have done so far with the boys in training, how well the players have digested their ideas.
In a phone interview with Kawowo Sports, Mawa says: “We shall approach our games with a winning mentality, but it [CECAFA] will be an experimental ground for us.
“We have been training and doing lots of work so we want to see how fast the players have taken in the new ideas.”
Kenya, having confirmed their inability to host this year’s tournament, the organizers are yet to name a replacement. The host is yet to be found, although there’s a strong possibility either Rwanda or Sudan could take up the position according to the organizers .
Mawa says: “CECAFA not taking place won’t really affect us but we need it to test our level of competition especially with the new management. Like I said, we want to see what we have achieved in training in these past weeks.”
While they’ve made 24 appearances at the regional tournament, Somalia nicknamed the ‘Ocean Stars’ have never qualified for a major competition. Mawa says their failure to hit heights is not because they are less talented rather, poor organization.
“These players are very talented, but like many countries in Africa, the organization is always a concern. You can’t point fingers direct to the administration because it is a whole system which includes us coaches.”
“We hope we can help in whichever way we can and with the help of the federation, we hope to post good results and achieve great things.”
Somalia is ranked 205 in the FIFA World Rankings.