Kenyan-born defender called up to Somali national team

Kenyan-born defender Abdi Muya Salim who plays for Orlando City in the US Major Soccer League has been called up to the Somali national team for the coming World Cup qualifiers.

Salim had sent a message to the Kenyan head coach, Engin Firat, asking to be considered for the Harambee Stars call-up after the team won 2-1 against Qatar in a friendly match last month.

“Congratulations to the Kenya national team for their recent victory against Qatar and hopefully I will join you soon,” the social media post from the defender read.

Somali is in group G of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers alongside Algeria, Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, and Botswana.

The Ocean Stars will kick off their qualification campaign with a tough duel against Algeria on November 13.

The defender will pitch camp in Morocco to commence preparations for the qualifiers.

The Somali national team announced the call-up of the 22-year-old on the socials.

“Congratulations to Abdi Salim, who has been called up to the Ocean Stars squad for the first time. The full squad list of 33 players will be announced in the coming days,” the announcement read.

Salim was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and spent his early years in the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, where his family had sought asylum before his birth.

In 2003, Salim’s parents were granted a visa to the United States after which they relocated.

Salim’s passion for the game ignited in the US when he played his first-ever organized football match with youth club Delaware SC in 2013.

In 2018, he was recruited for Rochester-based Empire United where he captained the US Developmental Academy under-17 and under-19 teams during a two-year spell.

 In 2019, he commenced his college soccer career with the Buffalo State Bengals, a Division III program at Buffalo State University.

He later joined the Syracuse Orange before making the leap to play for the USL League Two side Ocean City Nor’easters in May 2022

He was later on selected in the first round of the 2023 MLS Super draft by Orlando City pushing his career to new heights.

After training with the club in preseason, he was signed on a one-year contract with an option to extend for three additional seasons on 14 February 2023.

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