Somalia is primarily known these days for its pirates and the lack of a government to most of the world.

Basketball seems not to be associated in any way with the Eastern African country located at the Horn of Africa.

When I first searched for players that originated from Somalia, I found a refugee who studied and played ball in the Midwest of the United States.
After securing an interview for with him, he later mailed me to take the interview off the web as he feared that his family back home in Somalia could be threatened by reprisals.

As you can see, getting a better inside look into Somali hoops seems to be a tough task even nowadays with the World Wide Web being a big help. When talking about notable players emerging out of Somalia, then you have to talk about guys like Yaseen Musa, Salah Abdo and Saeed Kosar who all succeeded to put their country’s flag on the basketball map in different ways.

While Musa and Kosar are both on the Qatari national-team, Abdo is on the way to be a future pro player while attending college in the United States.

As Somalia does not provide stable competition within the country, most players are leaving the country towards other nations like Egypt, Yemen and primarily Qatar.

Yaseen Musa has been a household name in Middle-eastern basketball for years but only a few know that he is originally from Somalia. The lanky forward even applied for the NBA Draft a couple of years back but went undrafted and played also in a US minor league before settling back to Qatar where he is still star of the local league. Just check out the link to the video above!

Saad Abdulrahman AliAnother Somali professional basketball player is Saeed Kosar who nowadays goes by his Qatari name Saad Abdulrahman Ali. The 1,93 meters-tall forward grew up in Canada where he excelled in high school hoops and later also at Algonquin College under the eyes of coach Trevor Costello who calls Saeed and his brother Abdul “tremendous players with excellent basketball smarts”. Kosar, who moved to Qatar in 2002 after graduating from college, represented then in 2004 the Qatari U-20 national-team since he had no chance to represent Somalia as there was virtually no national-team program and there is still none up to this day. Nowadays, the 1980-born is a regular fixture on the senior national-team of Qatar and in the starting five of his club-team AS Sadd for who he competed for in almost all of his years in the Qatari league. His younger brother Abdul is a standout at Algonquin College these days as the 1,88 meters forward is following in the big foot steps of Saeed. In twenty games played, the sophomore averaged 11,5 points per game and 4,5 rebounds per game for the Thunder who finished the season with 15 wins and five losses. Once he graduates, he could be heading over to the Gulf region as well to join his brother to form a formidable one-two punch in the league and maybe even in the national-team of Qatar.

Salah AbdoPoint guard Salah Abdo struggled through injuries early in his career and is now back to full speed at tiny Trinity College in Connecticut. I found a great story that tells more about his struggles and how he sees himself as a role model for young Somalis around the globe. Abdo, who enrolled for a year at New Hampshire in the NCAA Division 1 ranks, could have strong 2010-2011 season to follow the few players out of his country into the Middle East to play professionally. But he is not the only one in his family who fell in love with the sport. Abdo also pointed me into a new direction. Better: To a new face on the block.

Osman Olol, a cousin of Salah, is currently enrolled at Monroe Community College in the state of New York.

Being a six foot nine inches tall forward, Olol should be receiving already some looks by NCAA D1 colleges who are in the need of a post player as he displayed his raw talent this first year by averaging 6,2 points per game in only 16 minutes per game. If given a chance, he might resurface in a solid program with more playing time available for him.

There is some Somali talent hidden across the globe with strong  ties to the country of its ancestors.

But with the current situation being pretty unstable in their home-country, the Somali diaspora won’t be given a chance anytime soon to defend the colors of their country in international competition. With the country’s lack of environment there is no chance of seeing a home-grown national-team and the near future of the sport in Somalia looks more than dim these days.

Maybe it’s up to the next generation of players that will be growing up elsewhere and may remember it roots, to lead a new financially-backed project into a possible qualifier to the African Championships in a couple of years from now. Only time will tell…{jathumbnail off}