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Ear to the Ground

Eritrean Team Seeks Asylum in Kenya

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Posted on Dec 18, 2009
Wikimedia Commons

The stadium in Asmara, Eritrea, where the national soccer team plays its games.

You know things are bad when your national soccer team flees the country. That’s what happened to Eritrea, whose national team absconded while in Kenya for a regional soccer tournament. The athletes later reappeared in the capital city of Nairobi, seeking asylum.  —JCL

The Washington Post:

Eritrea’s entire national soccer team is seeking asylum in Kenya, joining tens of thousands of compatriots who have fled one of Africa’s most repressive governments.

The team absconded after traveling to Nairobi for a regional tournament. Eritrea, with only about 4 million people, was the second-biggest source of asylum seekers in the world last year, and the missing players are probably the highest-profile defectors since the country won independence in 1993.

The 11 players and one substitute were reported missing over the weekend when the team plane returned to Eritrea without them after a match against Tanzania.

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