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Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup Qualifying (Africa) – THEY BLEW IT (twice): Somalia

***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR YELL AT RANDOS IN MY STREET ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***

With the Qlamqtar World Cup 2022 only about 14 periods away (depending on your own set of menstrual circumstances), I’m going to answering all the burning questions leading up to the tournament. Today, in the next installment of my THEY BLEW IT series, I take a look at Somalia, a nation that first blew a lead to the Guinean Coast and lost its spot as the world’s leaders in maritime piracy and then blew a lead to Zimbabwe and lost its spot in the second round of World Cup qualifying. 

Somalia – East Africa’s Worst Chokers

After riding a wave of success from 2005-2012, Somalia’s all-conquering pirates were way out in front of their competitors as the world’s #1 ocean terrorists. However, after reaching the lofty heights of 160 attacks on sea vessels in 2011, scoring millions of dollars in ransom money (while conceding very few deaths), the international maritime security defense effort within east Africa’s Cape of Aden was heavily strengthened, leading to a gradual drying up of opportunities for the country’s once-mighty sea looters.

Yeah, not anymore buddy. This might as well be retitled Somalia: The New Disneyland?

Overtaking Somalia’s vaunted sea strikers are the upstart west African pirates of the Guinean coast. Despite the sovereignty of the region’s coastal states, it’s thanks to local political and law enforcement corruption (particularly in Nigeria), inadequate regional naval forces, along with local pirates’ greater efficiency and organisation (as well as speedier profiteering from stealing and selling crude oil on the black market, as opposed to drawn out, highly volatile hostage negotiations) the Guinean coast’s ocean terrorists have now taken the mantle as the world’s most feared sea criminals (albeit with a much lamer focus on oil siphoning and resale, instead of badass kidnapping crew for ransom).

In bars and pubs the world over, Somalia is now nothing but an afterthought in heated debates about cargo trade route maritime security in the Gulf of Aden.

You idiots, Somalia!

Oh and in football, the national team also blew a lead against Zimbabwe in the first round of Qlamqtar 2022 qualifying (twice). After winning the first leg in Djibouti 1-0 (played outside of Somalia due to security concerns) and then leading 2-1 in the second leg in Harare, they ultimately shat the bed and lost 3-2 on aggregate. This meant they were eliminated from qualifying for the Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup.

God, you really blew it Somalia. TWICE.

How did Somalia mess this up?

Guinean pirates stop at nothing to seize their payload, not hesitating to wound or murder crew when necessary. Somalia’s found this approach problematic however, because the value of a hostage drops dramatically as soon as they have no heartbeat. This has resulted in Somali pirates prioritising the health and safety of those captured, leading to over-complicated and drawn-out hijack attempts that often go nowhere and force the pirates to flee empty handed. Massive bummer.

The Guinean coast’s new champions also don’t have to waste days, weeks, even months in negotiations under highly tense and precarious circumstances. BANG West Africa’s pirates go in, BOOM they neutralise the ship’s crew by tying them up, KAPOW, maybe they kill a few cunts who don’t wanna cooperate, RATATAT-TAT siphon the ship’s oil stocks onto their own vessels and KLANG KLANG KLANG they’re gone. Too easy.

Also, geography. Somalia really fucked up their geography. Had they been situated along a less convenient and economical navigation route, they may be riding the highs that West Africa’s pirates are right now.

The Gulf of Aden is a major international cargo transportation route that connects the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean via the Suez canal, which sees billions of dollars worth of goods move through it every year, bound for locations all across the world. On the flipside, West Africa’s stretch of coastline is used primarily for local cargo and oil transportation, therefore making it yawn and boring and pointless to the international community. So nice job on your geographical location, Somalia. Just look at a map, dickheads. You blew it, ya know? You really blew it. Bigtime.

Yeah, and in the football, they slacked off just before injury time and together with the fact they are much shitter than Zimbabwe, lead to them fucking up and losing and fucking up any chance they had of making the world cup. Stupid.

Is there a plus side?

Sure. Thankfully as issues surrounding inefficient law enforcement, ineffectual prosecution, flawed legislation and poor coordination between the EU’s naval security force (Operation Atalanta) and Gulf of Aden seafarers continue to surface, we should see Somalia’s once-great pirates slowly peg back some of the ground lost to West Africa’s littoral nations over the last decade. Rest assured, successful boardings by Somali pirates that result in multimillion dollar ransom jackpots aren’t just a thing of the past.

The Good Old Days: In 2009, Somali pirates hijacked the MV Faina, taking 21 crew members hostage and ultimately scoring a $3.2 million ransom goallllllll

Somali piracy fans can look forward to brighter days because with the EU’s reticence to allocate appropriate resources or supply proper equipment and training, a lucrative maritime kidnap and ransom insurance industry and not to mention loopholes in legislation and jurisdiction such as the juicy lack of any anti-piracy law prohibiting the carrying of firearms in international waters. the future of Somalia’s ‘Saviours of the sea’ (as they prefer to be called) looks promising.

So when can we expect to see Somalia challenging again?

Soon, if all goes to plan! And we’ve already seen some encouraging news lately. You’ve just got to ignore the stats, because don’t worry, with the dwindling numbers of recent attacks will come greater complacency. The more time that drags on without pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden, and as costs of patrolling the surroundings waters continue to skyrocket, the sooner we can expect the EU’s Naval Force and cooperating security forces to shift their focus elsewhere. And when that happens, DING DING DING JACKPOT!

(Oh and yeah, about Somalia and football… well, qualifying for the 2026 World Cup is only about 2 years away so I guess that’s something.)

 

So chin up, Somalia. Things are sure to turn around soon!