Ethiopia has barred Eritrean footballers from playing in East Africa’s premier football tournament this month because of political tensions between the neighbouring nations that fought a bloody war from 1998-2000.
Nicholas Musonye, secretary-general of the Council for East and Central African Football Associations, said that the regional football body “must respect” Ethiopia’s position not to allow the Eritrean team into the country to play at the CECAFA Cup from November 21 to December 6.
Eritrean players have frequently used football trips to try to escape their restrictive homeland. Fifteen Eritrean players and a team doctor went missing and claimed political asylum at the 2012 CECAFA Cup in Uganda. Last month, 10 were granted asylum in Botswana having refused to return home following a World Cup qualifier.