Friday, July 06, 2012

Ethiopian soccer tournament promoting unity leads to division

(July 06, 2012, Washington post)--Ethio­pians living in the United States are used to navigating political differences that stem from power struggles in their native country. But for decades, amateur soccer leagues were immune.

Now, the controversy surrounding the tournament, which began Sunday and ends this weekend, has injected political overtones into a beloved sport.  Until this year, most of the amateur Ethiopian soccer clubs in the United States belonged to the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America, which has been holding an annual soccer tournament for 29 years and considers itself nonpolitical.

One of the founding clubs — and one of the most dominant — is the D.C. Ethio Stars. For much of its existence, it was led by three men: Sebsebe Asefa, Eyaya Arega and Gebru Amanuel, who defected to the United States in 1979 when they were players for the Ethiopian national team.

They were part of a wave of defections stemming from a bloody crackdown by the then-ruling Marxist dictatorship. Read more from Washington Post »

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