As the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia draws ever nearer, football teams from unrecognised nations had their own international tournament in the British capital, London.
A football team representing the Somali community in the UK was the nominal host of this year’s ConIFA Football World Cup in London.
Barawa Football Association (BFA) was established in 2015 and a year later joined ConIFA (the Confederation of Independent Football Associations), an umbrella association for states, minorities, stateless peoples and regions not associated with world football governing body FIFA.
The BFA is named after Barawe, a port town in the southern Somali region of Lower Shabelle. The town is home to members of the Tunni clan as well as the Bravanese.
This year’s alternative World Cup was won by Karpatalja, a Hungarian-speaking minority from Western Ukraine, beating North Cyprus.
The Somali team did not do well in the 10-day tournament. At one stage, they were beaten 7-0 by Western Armenia. They were also hammered 8-0 by North Cyprus.
— CONIFA (@CONIFAOfficial) June 5, 2018
Barawa finished in eighth place.
FULL TIME: Barawa 0-7 Western Armenia #WFC2018
— CONIFA (@CONIFAOfficial) June 9, 2018
On its website, the BFA says its aim is to expose Barawese culture to the world and help “develop football” in southern Somalia.
“The BFA aspires to unite all Barawese people to come together and support our cause…The BFA is organized and managed by Somali diaspora living in the United Kingdom,” it adds.
“The BFA aspires to unite all barawanese people to come together and support our cause,” it adds.
Our first ever @CONIFAOfficial #WFC game couldn’t have gone any better. Thank you to all who showed us so much love and hope everyone enjoyed the game! @paddypower great commentary! @clattenburg1975 great officiating! #rest #oneatatime #wfc18 #barawa #somalia #peace #hornstarssc pic.twitter.com/hpMCMI36Oz
— Barawa F.A (@FABarawa) June 1, 2018