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