The Champions: Cardiff City’s Division Three title winning squad
The Cardiff Somaliland Community Football Team take on former Cardiff City and Manchester United players on Wednesday evening at the Big Game at The Principality Stadium as part of the 2016 Community Cohesion Cup.
The players will face South Wales Police Select XI which is made up of local community police officers and former professional football players including ex-Wales Under 21 captain and former Bluebird Lee Jarman, former Cardiff City defender Damon Searle who helped the side to promotion from Division Three in 1998–99 and former Manchester Utd player Derek Brazil who played under Alex Ferguson before joining Cardiff in 1992.
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A total of 150 players from 18 ethnic minority teams from across Cardiff took part in matches for a place in the Big Game in a league which is held each year to bring communities together.
Cardiff Somaliland X1 saw off competition from local city teams representing Yemen, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kurdistan and Bangladesh to get to the final.
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It is the third year the match and league has been staged. Last year SWP beat a team representing the Yemeni community four nil.
Mustafa Essa, Somaliland Team Manager said, “All the players are really up for it and can’t wait to play.
Damon Searle and Derek Brazil in their Cardiff City days in 1993 pictured with the 3rd Division title trophy
“Parents and children from the local community will also be coming to cheer us on.
“We played really well to get this far and so hope we can win now.”
Somaliland supporter Ali Abdi said, “I am delighted that our Somaliland team has got the chance to play at the Principality Stadium, it’s an awesome stadium and a once in a life time opportunity for the talented players from Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown to show SWP and the Ex-Pros why they are so good.”
South Wales Police organised the tournament which is now in its third year.
Mohamed Yusuf, who helped organise the games, said, “The purpose of this fun event is to bring together the people of Cardiff, breakdown some barriers, improve communication and build trust within key communities across this great city.”
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Las year Cardiff Yemen Community got to the Big Game but lost six three to a team of South Wales Police and ex-professional football players including former Swansea striker Lee Trundle who scored a hat trick.
Kick Off tonight is at 6pm and spectators are asked to arrive at 5:15pm. Entry is free and open to all to attend – Entrance is via Gate 2.