Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eritrean Sports Roundup

(Picture)Ali Abdallah leading the pac in Spain. Eritrean Athletes have found the knack in Europe as Zeresenai Tadesse also trains in Spain and Eritrean-Swede Henok Goitom continues to shine for Real Murcia in the Spanish First division.

Hello Eritrean and all sports fans,
It has been a while since this blog was active last. As the wind of Hizbawi Mekete's blow in every Eritrean corner throughout the globe the "Sportawi Mekete" continues to also be alive and well. As the season change approaches and the holiday season comes to a near Eri-International sports blog would like to update you on the latest happenings in the Eritrean sports world. Starting off with Cycling The Eritrean National Cycling Team has scored impressive performance in the 22-km. chronometer race of the African Championship that took place in Cameroon in mid November. Eritrean cyclists Bereket Yemane, Frekalsi Debesai and Daniel Teklehaimanot stood 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively in the race. More than136 cyclists from 17 countries took part and the well established professional South Africans took first and second place respectively. This is a great result for the up and coming Eritrean national Cycling federation.

Let's take our attention to soccer or sometimes known as football, the Eritrean national soccer team was a disappointment in the African nations cup qualifying even though they finished second in their group behind world cup contenders and group leaders Angola. Eritrea could have advanced as a second place team had they beaten Swaziland at home and away instead of ending in a draw. What is ahead now for the men's national team? We will explain however before we jump into the men's events, the Eritrean national Women's soccer team will take on Tanzania in the African Women Championships starting the weekend of November 30th, 2007 and then the second leg in Tanzania a week later. The women's team last played against a strong Moroccan team. They lost in Rabat by the score of 2-1 even though they were able to come from behind and defeat Morocco in Asmara by the score of 3-2. Also in the past the women lost a very close game to the Tanzanians. They have a great chance to redeem themselves.

Now to the The Red Sea boys. The Eritrean squad will participate in the CECAFA Kagme Cup taking place in Tanzania starting on December 8th 2007. Eritrea is grouped in group B where they will face Rwanda on December 9th, 2007. The rest of their schedule looks like this where they face strong teams. Eritrea is in Group B and it's schedule is as follows.

09/12/2007 Djibouti - Uganda
09/12/2007 Eritrea - Rwanda
11/12/2007 Djibouti - Eritrea
11/12/2007 Rwanda - Uganda
13/12/2007 Djibouti - Rwanda
14/12/2007 Eritrea - Uganda

Meanwhile the draws for the 2010 world cup to be held in South Africa have finally been decided and Eritrea faces another world cup contender from 2006 Togo while also taking on African super power Zambia and a team that prevented them from making it to the Nations cup Swaziland. There are 12 groups and of course South Africa will get an automatic bid. Then The 12 group winners and the eight best runners-up will contest the next stage in the qualification process. Eritrea needs to use this opportunity to shine and with the Youth team advancing to their first ever African nations cup last year, the adult team should be able to utilize the talent pool while also attracting other Eritrean players playing professionally elsewhere.


In Soria, Spain – Eritrea’s Ali Abdallah was a convincing winner in the ‘13th Cross Internacional de Soria’ - EAA permit - held in mid November at the ‘Monte Valonsadero’ circuit on a windy but generally nice day of weather. Abdallah is another one of those up and rising stars in Eritrea's short but incredible history of running where the likes of Zeresenai have made tremendous achievements in such a short time.
I don't know why it has not been shown all over Eritrean websites but running's best magazine did a feature story with 7 pages on Eritrean running. Titled "The Sun Rises on the Horn of Africa Led by Zersenay and The Major, Eritrean Runners' day has come." The magazine and the writer follow Eritrean runners starting from Zeresnai while they also speak about the Eritrean nation and it's athletic success in a very positive light instead of all the junky stories being written in other magazines to demoralize the Eritrean people. Here below is the link to the 7 page article and the magazine can also be purchased from stands all over the world.

Every Eritrean should be proud of Zeresenai and the rest of the running, Cycling and soccer mens/women and every other sports athletes representing Eritrea. After all they are representing and participating in a "Sportawi Mekete" side by side with their people throughout the globe and in Eritrea. Eri-International sports blog will try to have more stories as they become available and will try to keep you update with the scores of all the up coming games.

Until then this is Mike Seium for Eri-International sports.

So Long and victory to all Eritrean athletes and teams.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

125th Redsea Boys vs 126th Harambee Stars.

The Eritrean National team, the Red Sea Camels will take on the Kenyan Harambee Stars in Asmara this weekend. Eritrea beat Kenya in Nairobi by the score of 2-1 even though the ref in that game gave Kenya a penalty kick at the end of the game which they missed. As a result the Eritrean head Coach Mr. Dorian Marin was suspended for protesting the terrible call. Mr. Marin who will coach his last game for Eritrea because of his contract must be commended highly for turning Eritrea's program around.

For those who don't know Mr.Dorian Marin, who is he? and where did he come from? Well Mr. Marin was born in Romania, home of one of the best soccer teams in the world in the 1990s with big stars such as George Hagi who by the way can go down in history as the most exciting player to come out of Romania. Mr Marin was a student at a soccer school known as Bakoz in Romania and he went on to play professionally in Romania and Italy between the ages of 17 & 34 years. Mr. Marin then went on to coach in places like Syria and Lebanon where he was able to help teams achieve success.

The Eritrean team must win this weekend and that will take the Red Sea Boys a step closer to making history just like the under 17 team did in Togo. Ghana is the venue for the 2008 African nations cup. Meanwhile Kenya will come into Asmara prepared as they plan to over take

a second place in the division. They defeated a strong Rwanda team that made it to the nations cup in 2006 by the score of 2-0. Eritrea can't miss opportunities like it did against Angola a couple of weeks ago and also the Redsea Boys must not under estimate their opponents.

Advantage for Eritrea is the fact that they are playing at home and they have always played well against Kenya. A clear indication that the Eritrean national team is doing well is that in just 16 years of existence as a nation the national team has reached it's highest ranking ever in FIFA.

Kenya comes in as an underdog for the first time ranked below the Eritreans by one point.

This will be a historical day and a memorable day for Eritrea as Coach Marin will be present for his last game. The Eritrean national team has also called up two youth national team members to replace two players that were suspended with cards. Goal scorer against Angola Elias Ali and Tesfalidet Goitom both got two yellow cards each. Dahlak Tecleab who was a star player for the Eritrean under 17 side will replace Elias Ali while Professional player Elias Debesai will replace Tesfalidet. Meanwhile Kenya's biggest star Dennis Olisheh will not play as a result of an injury during the harambee stars 0-0 tie against Swaziland. Swaziland will face Angola in the other divisional game.

Good luck to the Red Sea boys! & Congratulations for improving in your rankings.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eritrea's Shimungus & Angola's Flavio meet again in Asmara.

Yes! Angola scored 6 goals to Eritrea's one during the first round game between the two nations in March at Luanda. The Red Sea boys were in the game for the most part until the 30 minutes mark when they started to show signs of weakness. May be something was on the minds of some members of the team at that time.

This weekend when the Angolans head to Asmara, Eritrea they will have to think twice even though they are the favorites. Eritrea's record on home turf is not too bad. They have tied teams like Cameroon and Nigeria in the past along with upsets against Mozambique.

Angola may have a star in Flavio who makes his living playing in the Egyptian first division but Eritrea has a hard working young veteran player in Yidnekatchew Shimangus. This game is very important for Eritrea while Angola can still advance by winning the division that they are leading comfortably. Kenya will be taking on Swaziland in the other group game. Eritrea has beaten Kenya in Nairobi and tied Swaziland. So what now for Eritrea?

By beating Angola, Eritrea's RedSea boyz can exceed their chances at advancing comfortably as a second place team if they beat both Kenya and Swaziland in their next two games. There are many positive things going for the Eritrean team, like playing in a newly refurbished turf stadium at Chichero, playing in front of the home crowd, and adding players that were not a part of the team that lost in Luanda.

For the past few years looking at the Eritrean national team, there has been one player that has left his mark and has been consistent throughout the ups and downs . He plays smart and is physically fit to go through many great defenders. Add to his experience and I think come this weekend he will be the difference against Angola.

Yidnekatchew Shimungus has been nothing but spectacular and with a few players to help him out Eritrea's chances at home will be better than before. Flavio may be abig star and Angola might have been a world cup contender that beat Eritrea convincingly, but I believe if Eritrea gets its act together and plays with confidence, The Red Sea boyz might just get that sweet victory they so deserve in the land of Yikealos. Last week the Eritrean national team beat a strong Sudanese team by the score 1-0 and then tied them again 1-1. This shows that they can play back to back games without any problem. Both games can also be an advantage since they can serve as a pre-match warm up that the Eritrean national teams must continue to engage in in the future.

Good luck and hope to hear a great result.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The best 2nd place finsh in Manchester, England.

Despite finishing second @ the BUPA Great Manchester Run champions on Sunday morning, Eritrean runner and defending champion Zeresenai Tadesse should be proud of his accomplishments. Zeresenai fought hard and stayed neck to neck with the winner of the event

Eri-Olympic Medalist Zeresenai Tadesse pictured here getting his Bronze in Athens.

Micah Kogo who broke a UK All-Comers' 10 kilometres record held by Haile Ghebreslassie. The good news for Zersenai is that he also broke Ghebreslassie's record and surpassed his performance last year when he won the event. As far as Zeresenai is concerned he should be
proud of his result for two reasons. He beat an old record while he also made a tremendous improvement from his victory last year of 27:36, by 12 seconds (27:24).

Kogo who is considered the world's fastest 10k man this year with his 27minutes 7seconds display this past April in the small Dutch village of Brunsuum decided to take off at about the 5k mark. This is what he had to say after his big win,

"At 5K I decided to test everyone and then at 8K, decided it was the right place to make a long run for home which paid off."

Meanwhile Zeresenai continued to chase Kogo and in the end failed short by three seconds while he broke Ghebreslassie's record by one second putting him in the elite of the 10K running stars of the world.

Kogo acknowledged that the battle was not easily won as Tadesse and Mo Farah a Brit-Somalian finished in third place. Kogo said: "That was hard and it was good to win against such a strong field. It is fantastic for me to break Gebrselassie's record.

For Zeresenai this is successful run is one of many that continues to make him a star and a very special star at that. He has represented Eritrea very well in everything that he has done. With the amount of events he has been participating in alone this year, 2nd place is not so bad especially when you break a record.

Congratulations to Zeresenai Tadesse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eritrean-Swede Henok Goitom dominates Spanish 2nd division

Born in Sweden to Eritrean parents, Henok Goitom is slowly becoming a big star in Europe. Henok is currently playing in Spain. The Eritrean soccer player who plays in the Spanish second division Ciudad de Murcia scored 3 Goals against Alaves. So far this season Henok has scored14 goals.

Division 1 Spanish teams have shown their interest as he has shown brilliance on and off the field. Henok is also being touted by other European teams including teams from the English Premiership. Henok is being considered the next Henrik Larsson in his adopted homeland of Sweden. Some even argue that he is a much better player at his age and very fast and dangerous with his feet as well as on the air. That's for time to judge

A YOU TUBE link with video of one of his brilliant goal says it all. This goal in my opinion is as good if not better than Messi's Maradona look a like goal that was talk of the international sports scene just a few weeks ago. The only slight difference is this was a second division Spanish league game.

You be the judge. All youth should work hard and use Henok as an example to shine in the game and life in general. To the Eritrean youth groups all over Europe, I want to say thank you for all that you do. I know Henok was active in the Eritrean youth group in Sweden and I want to ask all other youth groups to work hard to imulate hard working individuals like Henok.

Here is the link again. Just take a look and analyze it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Even the best of them lose big.

I was excited to take a little break from work on April 10th, 2007 to watch a little soccer or as some would call it football. The game was between two historically excellent teams in Manchester United and AS Roma. Trailing 2-1 from the first meeting of the sides in Italy last week, Sir Alex Ferguson's side needed to score at least once on home soil to set up a last four meeting with either AC Milan or Bayern Munich. Boy did Man. U unleash their goal feast as they went on to produce a magnificent seven-goal performance to blow AS Roma away and overturn a first-leg deficit to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. Great! Fantastic to all those who love their team from old trafford but what came to my mind was the time when the Eritrean national teams had many goals scored on them. I guess sometimes even the best of them lose big. Hopefully Eritrea will be more prepared for Angola in June when they play in Asmara. I also hope that Eritrea will use two European based players and 5 other Eritrean players based in Sudan and Yemen respectively as an additional value to the already strong national team that defeated Kenya and also tied Swaziland. Eritrea's chances are still good and I don't see why they will not be able to advance to the Adult African nations Cup. Good luck and Viva Eritrea. Mike Seium

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Zeresenai Tadesse the humble Athlete.

My favorite athletes are always those who are very modest. The ones who are always proud of their background despite their status as internationally recognized athletes. I can name a few who are on my list in various sports from different parts of the world. Like Pele, Michael Jordan, Arthur Ashe etc... Last week at the IAAF world cross country championships, I became convinced that there is a new star being born and what makes it sweeter is that he is an Eritrean. He congratulated all of us Eritreans when asked how it feels to be a champion after upsetting another veteran world champion who beat him during the Greece Olympics in the 10,000 meter race.

“I just feel very happy and proud for all Eritreans,” the personable Tadesse said, just minutes after he was mobbed by a ecstatic group of fans who had traveled to Mombasa with hopes of witnessing what was previously deemed impossible.

As most of us know Zeresenai is a cyclist turned runner. He has only been running seriously since 2002. With his recent string of successes, He has been an inspiration to many Eritreans. He is the biggest star of the national running team that also took a surprising second place at the youth level in both men and women's competition and a respectable fourth place in the adult division.

“I just feel very happy and proud for all Eritreans,”

In the past couple of years Zeresenai's famous picture with him holding high the Eritrean flag around him at the Athens Olympics can be seen all over the place. You can see it on personal Cellphones, Computer screen savers, You tube video highlights just to name a few. His bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2004 Olympic Games was the first ever Olympic medal of any kind for Eritrea and will forever be engraved in our heads. Then came his World Road Running title in Debrecen last October which was was the Eritrea's first global title in any sport, and in Mombasa he brought home the biggest joy as he dominated his race from start to finish.

Thank you Zersenai for your hard work but most of all for representing those who fought and died so that we can all be proud of Eritrea.

Eri-International sports

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Eritrean Women's Soccer Team.

Just a few years ago the US, Germany, China and Norway the power houses of women's soccer did not have national teams. The US is currently one of the the top countries in the world for women’s soccer, both in terms of participation and in international competition. Women’s soccer started late in this country. When I had just gotten out of college in the early nineties Varsity college teams were just beginning to spread. The American national team was only established in 1985. Despite a small number of participating teams in the women's world cup the US team was able to quickly develop a strong program as they have already won two world cup titles and an Olympic gold and silver medals. The US dominates the world in the women’s game, leading the way as it takes root throughout the rest of the world, with all the social and cultural implications that follow. Having said that I now would like to share the small history of the Eritrean women's soccer team. As most of you know women have played a big role in Eritrea's struggle for independence and in the process women were also playing big roles in all aspects of life. Women fought alongside men and did it with excellence. They were sometimes feared more than men by enemies as their ability and agility always surpassed expectations. The Eritrean women's team in it's short history of a couple years was on the spot light this spring along side of the success that the youth team brought in the qualification rounds. The women played against a strong Moroccan team with more experience and came from behind to defeat them in a spectacular fashion by the score of 3-2 infront of their home crowd in Asmara. The Redsea women showed many signs of brilliance and for a fairly new team, they out did themselves. In the second leg of the game taking place in Morocco the women lost in a very tight game by the score of 2-1 losing the round by goal differentials as Morocco scored more goals in the away games compared to Eritrea despite a tie in the amount of goals scored. This rule applies to all FIFA sanctioned games. The Eritrean National sports federation has awarded the young women prizes as they continue to put Eritrea on the map. Any Eritrean girls who are playing at the collegiate or high school level in the US or even at the club level in other parts of the world should think about joining the Eritrean women's team as they climb the latter of success. Teams like Nigeria, Ghana and other West African teams have also shown signs of brilliance in past world cups and Olympic games in a short period of time, so there should not be any reason why an Eritrean women's team could not compete with the big guns very soon. Congratulations to the Eritrean women despite the loss in Morocco. Eri-International sports.