Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Eritrean football players seek asylum in Botswana

(Oct 15, 2015, (BBC))--Ten players from the Eritrean football team have refused to return home after playing a World Cup qualifying match in Botswana and are now seeking asylum there, officials say. The men were detained by police after deciding not to board their plane.

They are reported to have refused to go home despite the intervention of the Eritrean ambassador in Botswana. There have been a number of mass defections by Eritrean athletes in recent years.

One of the most noticeable was in 2013, when Uganda granted asylum to 15 Eritrean players and their team doctor after they absconded at the end of a football tournament. A senior official at the Botswana Football Association says it has yet to establish why the players refused to leave with their team-mates.

However a report in the Botswana newspaper The Voice said that the players were distressed about the prospect of joining the Eritrean army and wanted to seek asylum despite being persuaded not to by the ambassador.  Read more from BBC »

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