For many years the African Australian football community was united. Teams from all around, first Melbourne, and then the country, would come together in the aforementioned city to compete in the Australian Somali Football Association (ASFA) Cup. It was an annual tradition and it was a chance for different sections of the community to put aside their differences and come together for a footballing tournament that put on display the best players that African Australian football had to offer.
Today the community is divided. While ASFA has expanded its competition to include more teams from a wider variety of nationalities and locations, it has lost the support of a number of members of the community who have created a tournament to compete with ASFA and they call it Somali Week.
Somali Week is a footballing tournament which, like ASFA, pits teams against each other in a group and knockout format. Since its inception in 2014, Somali Week has run almost simultaneously with the ASFA Cup, with a single day separating the commencement of both tournaments. Although Somali Week is a more family aimed event that includes rides for children and on stage entertainment, its festival like appeal does not take away from the fact that it was designed to compete with, and eventually overshadow, the ASFA Cup.
The creators of Somali Week deny that their motivation to create a separate tournament on the same week as the ASFA Cup is that regular finalists North Melbourne dominate the tournament. However, ASFA Cup founder Ahmed Dini claims that the Somali Week founders only made the tournament to run away from the likes of North Melbourne and fellow heavyweights Carlton, and so the strongest Somali Week teams like Reservoir can “beat their reserves for silverware.” This is in reference to Somali Week 2014 being primarily made up of current and former players of Heidelberg Starts SC, and the best of those players playing in one side to , in the eyes of Ahmed Dini, finally win the silverware they failed to win in the ASFA Cup. Additionally, the final of last years Somali Week was extremely one sided, with a large number of fans leaving the stadium at half time as the result was already decided. This result could also be used to aid Dini’s claim.
There has also been speculation regarding the legitimacy of North Melbourne’s domination in the ASFA Cup. This is as a result of Ahmed Dini being a resident of North Melbourne, leading people to suggest that he doctors results by paying off referees, among other things.
None of the claims made by the supporters or creators of either tournament have been confirmed, and for all we know, teams from the ASFA Cup may not be able to beat teams from Somali Week, or vice versa. The only way to find out which tournament is better in quality is to have the winner of the ASFA Cup and the winner of Somali Week to face off in an African Australian Super Cup match. It is an idea which has picked up support with more and more fans calling for the match to be organised. The winner of this match would become the undisputed best team in the African Australian community until the following summer.
The match would put to rest any talk about the quality or legitimacy of either tournament and would provide African fans of local football in Australia with an unprecedented occasion, a clash of champions in which the best players African Australian football has to offer would be put on display. Furthermore, the match would, for at least an hour and a half, reunite the African Australian football community, as their love for the beautiful game allows them to temporarily put aside their political and social differences to enjoy a spectacle of football that the African Australian community has never seen.