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The Somalis have cheekily declared themselves African champions for 2013
January 8, 2014 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Bandy is a game similar to ice hockey, but played with a ball instead of a puck. Somalia is set to enter its first ever team into the World Bandy Championships, comprised entirely of Somali refugees living in Borlaenge, Sweden where almost 10% of the population hails from war-torn Somalia.

Somalia, improbably, will join Japan, Ukraine and Germany in the B group at the world championships in Irkutsk, Siberia, one step below the elite nations. They play Japan in a little under three weeks.
A local band, Apopocalyps, has even composed a song for them (YouTube, Spotify). You can even like them on Facebook.

Bandy is not in the Winter Olympics, but if you are of a mind you can see an entire match here (Sweden V Russia). And, yes, the USA has a team.
posted by Mezentian (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Somewhat off-topic, but this reminds me of the Brazilian national curling team. It consists entirely of ex-patriate Brazilians who are students at the University of Sherbrooke, and a couple of times, they've challenged the US for the second berth in the world championships allotted to the Americas. They've routinely had their asses handed to them in those matchups, mind you, but they do try.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:36 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


It's like that Jamaican bobsled team!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:52 PM on January 8


So... It's soccer on ice, then ?
posted by graphnerd at 9:03 PM on January 8


I'd never even heard of Bandy until yesterday (via the BBC World Service, there should be audio at the link but I can't get it to work), and I had a devil of a time finding many links, but I don't think they used sticks in soccer.

I would be fine if they did. They might take fewer dives.
posted by Mezentian at 9:08 PM on January 8


No it's not like that Jamaican bobsled team.

It would make me happier if these Somalis were playing with Swedish clubs. It does not help the cause of Somali immigration in this country for these players form their own national team representing the corrupt country that they ran away from instead of the one that has given them money, food, shelter, education, healthcare and protection.
posted by three blind mice at 12:24 AM on January 9


I suspected there was a flaw in this plan to *something* racial harmony.

Given they have been playing for a short time, I doubt they'll be up to Sweden's standards for top quality Bandy players any time soon.

What from coming from a place without ice and all.
They're basically a team of people who got picked last in sport, banding together to have a go.

But if they get up to speed, what's to say the individual players won't start playing with the Swedish players in the leagues after the world cup? Or playing against Swedish teams in the smaller leagues?

It's got to start somewhere.
posted by Mezentian at 12:50 AM on January 9


It would make me happier if these Somalis were playing with Swedish clubs. It does not help the cause of Somali immigration in this country for these players form their own national team representing the corrupt country that they ran away from instead of the one that has given them money, food, shelter, education, healthcare and protection.

Maybe try reading the links?
It all started as an integration project, initiated by team manager Patrik Andersson early this year.

He says he and his friends were out on a pub crawl when they began discussing how to work together on the challenges faced by Borlaenge, an old industrial town 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Stockholm.

Key among these challenges is the steady growth of the immigrant population, with the Somali community made up mostly of refugees now numbering 2,000 of a total population of 50,000.

Andersson, recounting how the idea of the bandy team gradually took form, said he thought creating bridges between coexisting cultures “would make Borlaenge a good city to live in”.
posted by zamboni at 5:59 AM on January 9


Maybe try reading the links?

Hmm, that came over a little harsher than I intended. You may already know about the team, but the intent is clearly to bridge cultures, not divide them. That, and give Filip and Fredrik something to film.
posted by zamboni at 6:04 AM on January 9


three blind mice: "It would make me happier if these Somalis were playing with Swedish clubs."
There's a pretty long tradition in European sports for having "ethnic" teams. Some examples from football, which is the sport I'm most familiar with: Assyriska FF (Sweden/Assyrian - there's an entire category on Wikipedia for these), SV Türkspor Bremen-Nord (Germany/Turkish), Vatan Sport Bremen (Germany/Turkish), BSV Hürtürkel (Germany/Turkish), Türkiyemspor Berlin (Germany/Turkish), Hilal Bergheim (Germany/Moroccan), FC Djerdap (Danish/Serbian) etc. etc.
posted by brokkr at 6:38 AM on January 9


It does not help the cause of Somali immigration in this country for these players form their own national team representing the corrupt country that they ran away from instead of the one that has given them money, food, shelter, education, healthcare and protection.

Just because you flee a country doesn't mean you don't feel pride for growing up there. A country is more than its government. It's also its people - your family and friends you may have left behind and your ancestors who are not corrupt. I see this as a fun way for the Somalians to embrace a Swedish sport - to give them something in common with their new country.
posted by bluefly at 7:08 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Bandy. Hells bells, bandy is an amazing game. It makes Ice Hockey look like toddlers pillow fighting. It's *fast* and the ball leaves the ice, so there's a whole other dimension. Also, they barely wear any pads. It's a mystery why ice hockey is a thing at all given the existence of Bandy.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 11:50 PM on January 9


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