French club Toulouse FC’s announcement that it’s Brazilian midfielder Somália is joining Saudi football club al-Shabab, has sparked a debate on social media.
Wergiton do Rosario Calmon, better known as Somália, has played at Toulouse FC for three years but will be moving to Saudi football side Al-Shabab FC.
The Saudi club is not the only one bearing the name Al -Shabaab which is an Arabic phrase meaning ‘the youth’. There are other al-Shabaab football clubs in Syria, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman.
Reactions and questions
But for users on social media, the coincidence was too much. Many were struck by the fact that the jihadist group by the same names has been fighting for over over a decade to topple the government of Somalia in the Horn of Africa region.
LOL guys a brazillian footballer nicknamed ‘Somalia’ has joined a team called Al Shabab ????? https://t.co/Oz8Fl44VQg— yasin also known as Piccolo (@Serriusbleck) August 24, 2018
Toulouse midfielder Somalia (Who has never played in Somalia) has joined Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab on a two-year deal. pic.twitter.com/vKzxVQQpzN— Lotfi Wada (@LotfiWada) August 19, 2018
#Somalia joins al-Shabab – the football club https://t.co/4qNLMRVerh A few eyebrows were raised when French football club Toulouse announced that the Brazilian midfielder, Somalia, has joined the Saudi football team, al-Shabab. pic.twitter.com/V0p87ojZ0J— Barkhad M. Kaariye (@BarkhadKaariye) August 24, 2018
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab has carried out a string of attacks across the region, and has it has taken the efforts of the United Nations and an African Union peacekeeping force to support the Somali government against al Shabaab.
Toulouse FC announced the move on Thursday and thanked 29 year old Somalia “for his professionalism”.