Two Eritrean players have vanished in Nairobi, Kenya during the on-going regional Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
Nicholas Musonye, the Secretary General of the Council for East and Central Africa (Cecafa), confirmed the development.
“It is true two Eritrean players have vanished, but we are yet to get their identities,” Musonye said when contacted on Sunday.
Although Musonye refused to reveal more details, he said investigations are still on-going and they are waiting to see if the players will return to the Hotel.
“I am told they vanished after training yesterday,” said Musonye.
The Federation Kenya Football (FKF) National Executive Committee member, Elly Mukolwe told the Cecafa organizing Committee of the disappearance of the Eritrean.
The Committee was chaired by Abdiqaan Said (Somalia) and attended by other Cecafa members.
They reportedly said conditions in their country were not good. In the last five years Eritrean player have had a habit of disappearing during Cecafa organized tournaments.
Cecafa trip has always been clearly ‘emigration’ ticket for Eritrean footballers. In the last five years Eritrean players have had a habit of disappearing from their country during Cecafa organised tournaments
IT is of no need treating as catastrophic, the disappearance of Eritrean footballers from their country once they get a chance to leave to play regional Cecafa [Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations] tournament.
They do that in droves every time their team travels. Last year, almost an entire squad took off and mingled with the residents of Kampala Uganda, the previously year it was in Dar es Salaam and the last time the team was in Nairobi, many were left behind when a trickle travelled back to Asmara.
This time, two Eritrean players have vanished in Nairobi, even when the team has still got two Group ‘C’ preliminary matches to play.
It happens all the time. Even though other Cecafa members find the situation alarming every time it happens, Eritrean officials appear calm.
Often, the leaders of the Eritrean Football Federation are high placed men in the Eritrea Government, some very senior in the military. All young people in Eritrea serve long stints in the military service.
It is therefore regarded that the Government delegates condone the practice; in other words, they “look the other way” and do not sportsmen from seeking green pastures outside their young nation — independent only from 1994.
This time, the Eritrean squad is led by their football association President, Tesfaye Gebreyesus, a man who complained that players deserted the team the last time he led it in Tanzania.
Matches to go
Eritrea play Uganda at 2pm on Monday in Machakos and on Thursday, 2pm, faces Rwanda at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru.
Last year during the Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda, 17 Eritrean players also vanished including the team doctor.
They later appeared at the office of the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister seeking asylum.