Five players of Eritrea’s U-20 team have disappeared from their hotel in Jinja ahead of the semi-finals at the on-going Cecafa U-20 Challenge Cup.
The Eritrean players vanished ahead of their semi-final game against Kenya’s Rising Stars at the Fufa Technical Center today where they were beaten 1-0, while Tanzania battle Sudan in the other match in Gulu. Aimable Habimana, the chairman of the organizing committee of the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) confirmed the disappearance of the players on Tuesday.
“The five players are missing at the Speke Apartments. We have decided to beef-up security around their hotel and the team so that we end the tournament on a good note,” added Habimana.
During the team training for the Eritrean team at the Fufa Technical Center on Tuesday, only 14 players were available. When asked the team coach Haile Efrem Alemseghed said some of his players are sick.
Eritrean players have a habit of disappearing during sports tournaments to seek asylum in other countries. In 2011 during a Cecafa event in Tanzania 13 Eritrean players vanished and later requested asylum, while 12 members of the national team sought asylum in Kenya in 2009.
URN has established that the five players who have vanished from the team hotel include; Hermon Fessehaye Yohannes, Mewael Tesfai Yosief, Simon Asmelash Mekonen, Deyben Gbtsawi Hintseab, and first-choice goalkeeper Girmay Hanibal.