VIDEO SHOWS: WOMEN AND GIRLS PLAYING BASKETBALL IN SOMALIAN CAPITAL OF MOGADISHU / INTERVIEWS WITH PLAYERS AND COACHES, WHO EXPLAIN SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE, INCLUDING THREATS FROM AL SHABAAB AND A SOCIETY WHICH DOES NOT OFTEN SUPPORT WOMEN PLAYING SPORT
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (SEPTEMBER 16,2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1. VARIOUS OF NASRA MOHAMED MOHAMUD SITTING IN HER LIVING-ROOM AND LOOKING AT HER OLD PHOTOS, A TROPHY AND MEDAL IN FRONT OF HER
2. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) BASKETBALL COACH, NASRA MOHAMED, SAYING:
"My history in the sport began in Bay region (Somalia) and I was born there. I used to be an athlete, when I was in primary school, I joined the regional athletic competition. After that, I joined regional athletics and trained as a basketball player and played the first year and second year I joined LLPP Jenyo team."
3. VARIOUS OF NASRA MOHAMED LEAVING HOME AND WALKING AWAY
4. VARIOUS OF NASRA ARRIVING AT BASKETBALL FIELD IN MOGADISHU
5. VARIOUS OF NASRA TRAINING GIRLS
6. (SOUNDBITE)(Somali) BASKETBALL COACH, NASRA MOHAMED, SAYING:
"I decided to train girls after I saw that the girls enjoyed and needed someone to train them and help them. This is also a voluntary organisation so I came to train them."
7. VARIOUS OF NASRA MOHAMED SITTING WITH GIRLS AND TALKING
8. VARIOUS OF TWO GIRLS PLAYING BASKETBALL
9. (SOUNDBITE)(Somali) BASKETBALL COACH, NASRA MOHAMED, SAYING:
"No one supports us, or gives us equipment and we do not have anyone supporting the players with uniforms, balls and shoes. We even do not have a proper court. We met the district commisioner of Hamar Jabab and requested him to give us time to play on this district playing field. He gave us a slot to train girls in the field and we are staying here and we really want to thank the district commesioner for that."
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (SEPTEMBER 15, 2020) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL)
9. VARIOUS GIRLS PASSING BASKETBALL BACK-AND-FORTH IN TRAINING SESSION
10. VARIOUS GIRLS BOUNCING BALLS
11. VARIOUS GIRLS SITTING AND WATCHING TRAINING
12. VARIOUS GIRL BOUNCING BASKETBALL THROUGH CONES
13. BASKETBALL PASSING THROUGH NET
14. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) BASKETBALL COACH, NASRA MOHAMED, SAYING:
"My name is Nasra Mohamed Mohamud, nicknamed Nasra Elay, I used to be a basketball play for LLPP Jeenyo team when the government collapsed and the civil war started. As a group of players, we thought about whatever we were able to do in sports. As you see boys and girls were drawn to drugs and sniffing glue. So we decided to keep them busy, organised them to play. I love the girls. I want to develop women in sports, it is my hobby. We trained them some of them joined national team and others joined different teams in the country and others went abroard."
15. VARIOUS OF FARDAWSA OMAR AHMED PLAYING WITH HER FRIEND IN THE TRAINING SESSIONS
16. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) BASKETBALL PLAYER, FARDAWSA OMAR ALI, SAYING:
"I play basketball, football as well as handball. I have been playing basketball for five years, but I was not lucky enough to be national player. I play at the district level."
17. PLAYERS DURING GAME
18. (SOUNDBITE)(Somali) BASKETBALL PLAYER, FARDAWSA OMAR ALI, SAYING:
"Some of the training courses are difficult, others are simple. I asked my trainer to make the difficult ones easier. As you see, we come here to play at two in the afternoon, a very hot time in Somalia. When the trainer gives us one hour training and playing, we ask her to give us five minutes to drink water and rest, as the sun is very hot."
19. FARDOWSA PLAYING
20. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) BASKETBALL PLAYER, FARDAWSA OMAR ALI, SAYING:
"Mogadishu is risky. We cannot openly say we are going to play. We put our playing clothes and shoes in school bags and carry them like that to the field and we pretend we are going to school or university. Despite the insecurity and with no government that encourages or supports us, we still love playing basketball."
21. BASKETBALL PLAYERS TRAINING
22. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) BASKETBALL PLAYER, FARDAWSA OMAR ALI, SAYING:
"I am a fan of Real Madrid (football club). If I was asked which team would you play for, I would say the Real Madrid of women handball or football.''
23. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS IN THE FIELD
STORY: Whistles screech on the sea breeze as three Somali coaches inspect a line of women in black and blue headscarves dribbling basketballs.
It's not just the heat that makes it hard: the women are also braving the scorn of their families and the threat of attack by gunmen who think women should not play sport publicly.
"We cannot openly say we are going to play. We put our playing clothes and shoes in school bags and carry them that way to the field and we pretend going to school or university," said Fardawsa Omar Ahmed, 20, a university graduate who also plays volleyball and football. Her family used to discourage her from playing, but now they accept it, she said.
Suham Hassan Sobran, 40, played as a child before civil war broke out in 1991. She restarted in 2009, when the Islamist al Shabaab insurgency still held large swathes of the city.
Even now, the women only play in compounds behind high concrete walls, which shield them from the gaze of the curious or those who might attack them.
She and her friends train other women on an enclosed court enclosed in Mogadishu's Hamar Jajab district.
A police checkpoint lies nearby - such checkpoints are often a target for al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but still mounts frequent attacks.
On the court's gate is a painting of a woman playing basketball and slogans promoting good sportsmanship.
Sobran, and her two friends Faduma Ali Abdirahman, 39, and Nasra Mohamed Mohamud, 51, now train 30 other women.
Abdirahman, now a mother of six, once played on the national team, traveling to Djibouti and Uganda for matches, while Mohamud says she came back to the sport to help children stay out of trouble.
The teams receive no funding; when they play matches, the trainers pool money to buy a cheap cup as a prize. But they love what they do, and dream of starting teams all over Somalia.
(Production: Abdirahman Hussein, Nazanine Moshiri)