ERITREA

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - ALSO-RANS -

Eritrea is just along the African coast from Dji­bouti.

They be­came in­de­pen­dent from neigh­bour­ing Ethiopia in 1993. It’s 45,405 square miles and has 6,380,803 folk liv­ing in it, so it’s by far our most pop­u­lous coun­try so far.

A good num­ber of the mi­grants cur­rently flee­ing to Europe orig­i­nate from Eritrea, which is a one-party state where elections are con­tin­u­ally post­poned and, ac­cord­ing to Hu­man Rights Watch, has one of the worst hu­man rights records in the world.

This isn’t go­ing to bode well for the coun­try’s foot­ball set-up and there ap­pears to be two main prob­lems.

Eritrea aren’t very good but do get the oc­ca­sional re­sult – as re­cently as 2009 they beat So­ma­lia 3-1.

Their big­gest prob­lem, how­ever, is when­ever Eritrea play a game away from home, large sec­tions of the squad de­fect and claim asy­lum.

It doesn’t mat­ter where they go – it seems any­where is bet­ter than Eritrea. Ten play­ers re­cently de­fected in Botswana, nine play­ers and the coach in Kenya in 2013, an­other 11 in 2011…you get the pic­ture.

Home-based play­ers now have to pay a de­posit to the Eritrean FA be­fore they play abroad. This can’t be good.

In the last Eritrean squad I could find (2015), there are three Bri­tish-based play­ers.

Two were play­ing for Pon­te­fract Col­leries in the North­ern Coun­ties East League and one was play­ing for Lon­don Tigers in the Spar­tan South Mid­lands League.

Eritrea clearly has po­ten­tial to climb the

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