1st December, 2013
Two members of the Eritrean national football team have gone missing in Kenya amid fears they are seeking asylum, Kenyan football officials said on Sunday.
Eritrea is one of the 12 teams taking part in the on-going East African Football Association (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup which started in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The team were beaten 3-0 by Sudan in their opening match on Friday and are scheduled to face defending champions Uganda on Monday.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) official Evans Mukolwe said the players failed to return to the team’s hotel on Saturday after watching the Kenya-South Sudan game at Nairobi’s Nyayo National stadium.
“The issue was raised by the head of the Eritrean contingent who told us he had informed their embassy about the disappearance of the players,” Mukolwe, who is also the head of the technical committee for the tournament, told AFP.
“We have involved our security agents to track down these players because they came here for football and they cannot just disappear without our clearance,” he added.
This is not the first time that Eritrean players have gone missing in the regional tournament for national football teams.
In 2009 and 2012, national team players defected while in Kenya and Uganda respectively.
They later sought and were granted asylum in the two countries.
Two years ago, thirteen members of the then Eritrean champions Red Sea failed to return home at the end of a regional club championship in Tanzania.
After being the 13 disappeared before reappearing in Kenya where they sought asylum.