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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 17:29 UK

Somali Youth Club triumph in Bristol


Your Game in Bristol

Anyone who had not noticed the best-supported team at Your Game in Bristol had no doubt as to their origin after they won the men's final.

"Somalia, Somalia," echoed around the City Academy as the noisy fans of Bristol Somali Youth Club celebrated their team's 5-2 win over Newport Positive Futures.

Roared on by boss Gushay Hussein, who was prowling up and down the touchline, the team plotted their route to the Your Game final in Birmingham with a slick display capped by Abdi Kadir.

His jinking runs and unselfish play lit up the game, matching the audacious colour of his boots with which he tormented the Newport defence.

The result was harsh on Newport who made the final after a penalty shootout win in the semi-finals against Art of Lions.

But as the Somali team's fan club descended into raptures co-manager Ahmed Mohammed already had his eyes on the final at Birmingham City's Stadium on 19 May.

"This is the first opportunity we've had to make the final and we're happy to win in such style," he said. "I'm very excited about going to Birmingham with my team."

Abdi Kadir
Abdi Kadir was the Somali Youth Club's star man in his unique outfit
Adnam Ahmed, who scored a brilliant goal to seal victory by stopping the ball dead and scooping it over the Newport keeper as he lay on the floor was more effusive: "Our name was on the cup already!" he said.

Bristol's Somali contingent weren't the only ones to prosper on a glorious day in the city which saw all participants who visited Your Game make full use of the opportunities on offer.

Among those who were signing up to the many workshops was Charlene Hegarty who entertained the crowd at lunchtime with a confident MC display.

The 21-year-old, also known as Cici J, came down to the festival on her own and established a rapport with Bristol MC Jakes giving her enough encouragement to continue with her passion.

Having only performed a couple of times before she was given a warm reception by an appreciative crowd after her performance.

"I showed a bit of what I've got," Charlene said. "It went well and I felt a bit shaky when I came off stage but it was good for my confidence. I've been writing since I was 16 when I moved out of home early.

"My work situation is not good at the moment I obviously need an alternative to pay off my bills but I would like this to be a career opportunity. That's why I've come down.

"The way I see it you've got to grab every opportunity with both hands. Today I think I've found a starting point."

Earlier Paignton Panthers made the national final by beating Maggy's Muppets 2-1.

Cici J with Bristol MC Jakes
Cici J with Bristol MC Jakes
Although the scoreline was close, the Panthers, led by star striker Laura Gough, never looked like losing despite conceding an early goal which gave them a few worried moments.

The Muppets, who had Miss Piggy, Elmo, Bert, Ernie and Big Bird among them, had little time for their disappointment to sink in before they were given a pleasant surprise.

The team, formed as part of a Chartstage group which helps give young people qualifications in community sport, were told moments later that they won the women's Fair Play award.

They will be joined at St Andrews by Dutch who were the men's Fair Play winners.

Your Game is a partnership between the BBC and the Football Foundation which offers young people from under-served communities the chance to get involved in football, music and the media.

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