Author Archives: Aidan Williams

About Aidan Williams

Years of enthusiastic sports loving, and a lack of any significant sporting ability, have led me to look at the world of sports writing to share my views and have my say. I write on various blogs and websites, providing analysis, opinions, book reviews and my first book - The Worst in the World: International Football at the Bottom of the FIFA Rankings - is out now.

CHAN Qualifier: South Sudan 2-0 Somalia

30th April 2018
Championship of African Nations Qualifying, Preliminary Round 2nd Leg
Juba Stadium, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan 2-0 Somalia

South Sudan completed a 4-1 aggregate win over Somalia in CHAN qualifying to progress to the next round where they will face Uganda. From our point of view it was a disappointing way for Somalia to complete the two-legged series with a second defeat following the narrow first leg loss.

After a goalless first half, strikes from Robert Wurube with a fine left-footed strike early in the second half, and then James Moga direct from a free-kick 15 minutes from the end secured the win for the hosts who had been comfortably on top throughout in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

Highlights of the second leg are here:

This all means that Somalia remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the world rankings, as the chance for an escape has passed them by for the time being.

CHAN Qualifier: Somalia 1-2 South Sudan

22nd April 2018
Championship of African Nations Qualifying, Preliminary Round 1st Leg
El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium, Djibouti City, Djibouti

Somalia 1-2 South Sudan

Somalia sadly failed to cling on to a draw in the opening leg of their Championship of African Nations preliminary round qualifier against South Sudan. The tournament is for players based domestically, which may make a difference to the stronger national sides in Africa, but has little bearing on the squads of the likes of Somalia.

In the match played in Djibouti due to the Somalian Civil War, South Sudan struck first as early as the sixth minute through James Moga, and a sense of inevitability set in for The Ocean Stars, as the Somali national team are nicknamed.

But they held firm throughout the remainder of the first half, and came back out after the break with a renewed vigour. They were rewarded for their endeavour within minutes of the restart thanks to an equaliser from Abas Amin Mohamed. Mohamed struck a fine effort from outside the penalty area after some neat approach play from the Ocean Stars, and the goal was celebrated with quite some gusto. It’s not often that a team such as Somalia get to celebrate a goal at all, let alone a fine hit like this one. At this point the prospect of a very encouraging draw was firmly on the cards.

That dream was a possibility for all of about a minute. That was all the time it took for South Sudan to restore their advantage, with Leon Uso Khamis putting the South Sudanese back in front at the first opportunity after a cross wasn’t dealt with by the Somali defence. It might be fair to say that the goal they scored, and the subsequent celebration, left the Somali players slightly unfocused on the task at hand.

Try as they might, Somalia were unable to come back again against what is clearly a superior opposition, if only marginally so. The tie is delicately poised ahead of next week’s second leg in Juba, but there is the niggling fear that this was an opportunity missed for Somalia to sneak off the bottom of the world rankings. At least they get another opportunity to do so next week.

Highlights of the rather short period when Somalia scored their fine equaliser and South Sudan got back ahead can be seen here:

AFCON 2019 Qualifier Preliminary: South Sudan 6-0 Djibouti

28th March 2017
Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying, Preliminary Round 2nd Leg
Juba Stadium, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan 6-0 Djibouti

Was it all a dream? Had it really happened that Djibouti had beaten South Sudan just a week previously? You could be forgiven for thinking their historic win was a figment of your imagination after Djibouti reverted to type in the second leg of their African Cup of Nations preliminary round qualifier.

Six goals in all found their way into the Djibouti net as South Sudan decisively won through to the main group stage leaving Djibouti wondering just what had hit them. The first leg victory seemed an awfully long time ago as South Sudan rattled in four goals before the break to easily surpass the first leg deficit. Continue reading

World Cup Qualifier: Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar

Saturday 25th March 2017
World Cup Qualifying
Stadion Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar

While it may be something of a stretch into the realms of fantasy to claim that Gibraltar were robbed in this Saturday evening clash in Zenica, there will be a lingering sense of injustice for the men from the Rock after this latest defeat.

Trailing to an early goal in just the 4th minute from Hertha Berlin’s Vedad Ibisevic, Gibraltar had rallied somewhat and performed admirably through the remainder of the first half. The opener was a fine finish after an even finer lofted ball from Juventus’ Mirjan Pjanic. Gibraltar followers could be forgiven for fearing the worst at this point. But after that early setback there had even been sporadic forays up field with Lee Casciaro having one or two efforts on Asmir Begovic’s goal. One in particular, after a Begovic blunder, led to Casciaro attempting a long range effort on an unguarded net, which was unfortunately mishit off-target. He went close after a free-kick wasn’t cleared too, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Continue reading

AFCON 2019 Qualifier Preliminary: Djibouti 2-0 South Sudan

22nd March 2017
Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying, Preliminary Round 1st Leg
El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium, Djibouti City, Djibouti

Djibouti 2-0 South Sudan

It was a decade in the waiting, but Djibouti finally found that winning feeling once more to see off South Sudan in this first leg clash, sealing their rise from the bottom of the world rankings.

Having gone nearly ten years, and 34 matches, since tasting victory when beating Somalia 1-0 in late 2007, this success will be richly savoured by Djibouti, but they shouldn’t get carried away. They have every chance of securing a place in the main group stage by repeating the feat in South Sudan next week. Could they go on an unprecedented two match winning streak? I’m getting carried away… Continue reading

AFCON Preliminaries

With the recent Africa Cup of Nations finals still fresh in the memory, it seems odd to be talking about the next tournament in two years’ time already, but when your interest is in the weakest of teams, qualifying can start early.

The next AFCON tournament has included a preliminary qualifying round to ensure the numbers for the main group stage of qualifying are even. And so six unfortunates have to play home and away clashes to remove three nations from qualifying. Continue reading

Friendly: Burundi 1-0 Djibouti

13th March 2017
Friendly International
Stade du Prince Louis Rwagasore, Bujumbura, Burundi

Burundi 1-0 Djibouti

A mere two days after going down 7-0 to Burundi, the two sides pitted their wits against each other once again in Bujumbura and this time Djibouti put up a much improved performance and came away with a much better result.

Making no fewer than 6 changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s first match, Djibouti kept things distinctly tighter at the back even though they went behind early to a 16th minute strike from Franck Barirengako. Continue reading