Sunday, December 7, 2008

Important GOAL! Henok helps Valladolid come from behind.

Important GOAL! Henok helps Valladolid come from behind.
For the second week in a row Henok Goitom scores in the Spanish La Liga. This time around his team 8th place Real Valladolid was taking Osasuna in 20th and last place in the very tough Spanish premier league. Valladolid was playing away where they lost almost 80% of their games at an opponents home field. At stake was a loss to the worst team in the league and an embarrassment and it looked pretty bad for the purple Valladollid as they were trailing 3-0 until the 59th minute of the game. Mean while Henok Goitom did not start the game but came in in the 35th minute as a substitute and 24 minutes after he got in and his team on the brink of embarrassment he scores a beautiful header to make the score 3-1 and give hope to his side.
Also playing on Real Valladolid along side Henok is another African Bartholomew Ogbeche who was signed along with Henok this past year. The Nigerian international who played for the Green Eagles was substituted as well in the 77th minute of the game, but right before that in the 65th minute an own goal by Osasuna created in the box not very far from where Henok was made the game 3-2.
Bartholomew Ogbeche then added the last goal in the 86th minute to give his team a tie which also helped it earn a point and still in the top 10 of La Liga. It also saved Valladolid an embarrassment as the young Africans showed why they have become a great addition to their team in Spain. Good work by both youngsters as they continue to show that if given a chance they will be among the up and coming stars of European soccer.
Congratulations to Henok and his team even though a win would have been sweeter.
Here is the link of the high lite video.
For more on Henok and other Eritrea related sports just click on
Mike Seium for Eri-internatonal sports.

Monday, December 1, 2008


GOAAAAALLLLLL! Henok Goitom (First of the season) It is about time and a deserving Goal! for the 24 year old Swede-Eritrean as he has been slightly injured recently as well as getting used to his new team but folks it finally came as Henok scored his first goal of the season when his team who have won three in a row got a big win. Valladolid beat Real Madrid and Villarreal before their visit of Mallorca. The Purple and white went ahead in the 29th minute, when Jose Antonio Garcia Calvo reacted quickly after after a free kick. Another solid player Angel Vivar Dorado scored an almost identical goal in the 56th, appearing to use his arm to steer in Lux's parry, and Swedish-Eritrean striker Henok Goitom made it 3-0 when Mallorca's defence halted for an offside, and the referee waved play on. Final score REAL VALLADOLID 3 REAL MALLORCA 0. Congratulations Henok. Here below is the video for those who may not have seen it it is a great shot inside the box. Just click on the YOUTUBE Link.Word of advise don't stop until the Ref whistles and that is what Henok did in this particular case. Good luck to Henok for the rest of the season. Mike Seium

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eritrea's national soccer teams and their challenges.

Eritrea's national soccer teams and their challenges.
I have been one of the strongest advocates of the Eritrean national soccer teams at all levels and I sometimes tend to be a little bit ahead of myself with expectations that our soccer teams will advance and make it to an African or International tournament event. It is with this in mind that I write this blog to get moral support and material support for the national teams back home. If we see the short history of Eritrea in the international stage it is not so bad considering that we have already made it to the under 17 African nations cup as well as many games where we have surprised tough opponents such as Nigeria, Cameroon, and Egypt by playing tough games.
It is very clear that the obstacles to Eritrea's success seem to be countries in Africa that have far exceeded their potential and have become not only African power houses but internationally recognized teams. Eritrea can take a short cut and capitalize by working hard and strategizing on how best to beat the teams that have been very challenging to it the international power houses who take the growth of the game in their respective countries very seriously.
A soccer academy is well needed to nurture the many great talents that come out of Eritrea. I also strongly believe that any Eritrean national be it in the diaspora or from within the nation should be given a mechanism to be able to try out for the national team. As a matter of fact a foreign office that can accommodate that within the Eritrean sports/Soccer federation should be created. I personally believe that some players from Team Norway this past year at the Eritrean sports festival in North America as well as many others including players who play in different universities and colleges as well as from other parts of the world should be worthy of looking at. First it makes the competition better and the players who truly are skilled will be able to prove their ability.
In any case I would like to say to the leadership of the Eritrean soccer federation in Asmara that I salute you for doing a great job despite all obstacles. The fact that the under 17 are getting more attention clearly indicates that Eritrea is headed in the right direction. Like everything else in the nation it is best to start from down and progress. I also would like to share that the office of his excellency President Issias Afwerki has initiated a SPORTAW MEKETE by appointing National Sports Board comprising ministers and senior government officials that would strive to introduce a popular sport system with the active participation of the public. "The Board would streamline a new organizational structure for greater work performance and mission through studying and revising the hitherto existing organizational system and structure regarding sports in the nation."
The fact that Eritrea now has players playing overseas even though it may be in such nations as Yemen, Uganda and other middle eastern nations, it is still a big plus in the big picture. As regional partnerships are becoming the way to success for African nations with the exception of those who want to stay behind, the 2009 version of CECAFA tournament coming up at the end of this month from Uganda, can be a litmus test for our young Red Sea boys being inter mixed with the older players to get some experience and in the process also help win a championship for Eritrea. The Camels as they are known will first play Djibouti, and my feeling is that it will be a good game between the two brotherly people of the horn. Here below is the schedule for the 2009 CECAFA tournament and start date is the end of December.
31.12.2008 CECAFA Cup 2008 - 1. Round
Eritrea-Djibouti Jinja - Bugembe Stadium
Sudan-Kenya Jinja - Bugembe Stadium JANUARY 2009 01.01.2009 CECAFA Cup 2008 - 1. Round
Uganda-Rwanda Kampala - Namboole Nelson Mandela Stadium Zanzibar-Somalia Kampala - Namboole Nelson Mandela Stadium 02.01.2009 CECAFA Cup 2008 - 1. Round
Burundi-Djibouti TBD Eritrea-Kenya TBD 03.01.2009 CECAFA Cup 2008 - 1. Round
Somalia-Tanzania Kampala - Nakivubo Stadium Uganda-Zanzibar Kampala - Nakivubo Stadium
As always good luck goes to our Senior team and with Elias Debessay playing his professional career in Uganda, we hope that Eritrea will be able to get some local support from his fans.
Mike Seium

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big game for Eritrean under 17 soccer team vs Cameroon's Lions

Eritrean under 17 soccer team vs Cameroon's Lions
Asmara -- In the race to qualify for the final eight in Algeria 2009, the REDSEA boys of Eritrea will face the young Lions of Cameroon in the first of two games this Sunday at Asmara's Chichero stadium. The Eriirean Youngsters have shown some flashes of brilliance according to their coaches Asaid Ayman from Egypt along with former Eritrean national team member Negash Teklit. The Eritrean youth travelled to Doha, Qatar and also played against some Sudanese teams in preparation for this very important game taking place this weekend. As reported last month the Red Sea boys got a forfeit win against Democratic Republic of Congo after getting a first round bye because of being one of the top 8 teams to make it to Togo 2007 two years ago.
The Eritrean team defeated the Qatari national team by a very close score of 4-3 after trailing
2-1 at half time in a friendly game that took place two weeks ago at one of the top Sports facility in the world known as Aspire.
Meanwhile Cameroon's young Lions defeated Gabon to get a chance to play Eritrea. According to the coaches mentioned above the two players on Eritrea's young squad that have been shining are Asmara Bira's Merhawi Asmelash and Mohammed Jemea who scored two goals against Qatar. Jemae was injured in that game but has recovered well and will be playing on Sunday.
The young Lions have also prepared for this game by playing the adult indomitable Lions of Cameroon. It was with this in mind that Eritrea's coaching Staff had the Young Red Sea boys play against adult teams from Qatar and Sudan as well as Eritrea.
A little history about the two national teams takes us back in the early years of this decade when Eritrea tied the adult Cameroonians 0-0 in Asmara and only lost 1-0 in Cameroon when the indomitable Lions where at their height. Other qualifying game action are as follows,
Burkina Faso v Rwanda, on Saturday November 8th, 2008 and on Sunday November 10Th, 2008 Angola v Zimbabwe,Namibia v Malawi, Côte d’Ivoire v Niger,Ghana v Gambia,
Guinea v Benin, and of course Eritrea v Cameroon
Good luck to the Redsea boys and Prediction from Eri-international sports says that Eritrea will win by the score 3-1.
Mean while please check out the newly updated Eritrean sports blog at
Mike Seium

Eritrea hosts its first ever Level 1 Coaches Course

Eritrea hosts its first ever Level 1 Coaches Course “Eritrea Tennis Federation will revive tennis in the country and will run it professionally. Eritrea should not play catch up but it should be at a par with the rest of the region.” These were the words from the newly elected President of the Federation, Daniel Yohannes during the closing ceremony of the first ever Level 1 Coaches Course to be organized in Eritrea. The course which started with a 2-day mini tennis course from 23-24 October attracted 34 participants including teachers from 16 schools while the Level 1 course which was from 25 - 31 October had 19 participants. The course, which was conducted by the ITF Development Officer for the region, Mr Prince Madema, covered the modern ways of teaching starter tennis players, intermediate and advanced juniors. Some of the topics covered included: mini tennis, the role of the coach, mental training for beginners, strategy and tactics etc. The participants were very enthusiastic and motivated as this was the first time ever to have such an opportunity to learn something about coaching tennis. Berekete Ghetahun one of the participants commented, “I have been coaching tennis the way I was taught or the way I thought it has to be taught. I have never had an opportunity like this”. He went on to say, “Whether I pass the course or fail, I am still grateful to the ITF and Olympic Solidarity for this learning experience. I will change my ways of coaching tennis. Most of the coaches said they thought they knew how to coach tennis until after this course".The course ended on Friday with the presentation of the Certificates of Attendance by the President of the Eritrea National Olympic Committee. In conclusion, the President of the Eritrean Tennis Federation thanked the ITF and Olympic Solidarity for their continued support through the Coaches Education programme. In addition, he urged the coaches to be part of this new energized Federation since they are the backbone of the development programme in the country.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Eritrea under 17 national team win by forfiet.

Eritrea National under 17 team in Zambia 2007
Eritrea under 17 national team win by forfeit.
The Eritrean national Under 17 soccer team's path to the 2009 African nations Cup was set to begin with a match-up against the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) this past weekend at Asmara's Cicero stadium. However, the DRC team was a no show and based on CAF's rules Eritrea wins the game by forfeit 2-0. It may have even won the first round as CAF (Confederation of African football) has announced the withdrawal of Congo from the entire nations cup. Eritrea's chances of advancing to the group of eight will be determined after it advances to the next round where it will play the winner of Cameroon and Gabon. Cameroon defeated Gabon in the first round this weekend by the score of 2-0. If you recall two years ago Eritrea defeated Libya, Egypt and Zambia to advance to the under 17 African nations cup that took place in Togo. The 2009 version of the under 17 nations cup will take place in Algeria. Good Luck to the Red sea boys. Mike Seium Eri-International sports.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eritrean sports happenings summer 2008

Lots and lots of sports happenings from all corners of the world. Eri-international sports is committed to informing and educating readers about Eritrean Athletes and teams as well as other issues dealing with international and any other sports related stories. First and foremost Eri-International sports would like to wish the entire participants of Beijing 2008 in China as well as hosts of the Beijing Olympics good luck. The Chinese people have been nothing short of splendid and so far seem to be doing an outstanding job of hosting the event. Eritrea's participation at a high level is something that should be commended and I truly believe in my heart that Eritrea will win more than one medal this year.

Gold would be an amazing gift for the hard work and dedication and discipline the Eritrean athletes have shown in the past.

Now in the latest soccer news from Europe.

Henok Goitom will be playing top notch soccer in Spanish first division. Yes! Henok has become Real Valladolid's fourth summer addition after his last team Real Murcia was relegated to second division. Henok will remain in the first division (La Liga) one of the best leagues of the world in soccer. The Eritrean-Swedish striker did not get many chances to prove his skills at Real Murcia last year as he did at Ciudad Murcia during his two seasons on loan with the second division side before he went on to join the priemier league in the same Spanish city of Murcia.Real Murcia were on the lookout for a club they could loan Goitom out to and after a long battle they were able to work out a deal even though they got relagated to the second division of Spain soccer.

With Real Valladolid the 24-year-old will get more games under his belt before returning to Nueva Condomina.Valladolid have also secured a buying clause for the player, with the club's Sporting Director, Roberto Olabe, claiming that it will be positive for the player to enjoy another year of football in Spain's first division. We may see Henok in the British Premier league or playing for a top notch club soon. Eri-International sports will keep you updated. Meanwhile, Congratulations to Henok and his family as we look forward to watching him play in La Liga this year again.

MORE SOCCER FROM ERITREA The Newest Eritrean National under 17 team looking good. (Pictured to the right) The young Red Sea boys who made history by going to TOGO last year will be at it again. As they prepare for Congo Republic in the first round of the under 17 African Nations Cup. The youngsters who had made Eritrea proud have even improved a lot this time around as they kept some players from the past and have added new ones. New Egyptian coach ASAID AYMAN along with former national team Eritrean player and current coach Negash Teklit have arranged several exhibition games before the start of the CAF Under 17 which will begin at the end of August 2008. Meanwhile in a recent exhibition game the Eritrean youth team whooped up on the Sudanese under 17 team in Asmara last week by the score of 4-0. Idris Ismael had a hat trick and has been the leading scorer while the many other youth have once again proven that Eritrea can and will be an African power house. In the second game Eritrea showed that it is capable of scoring as they defeated the Sudanese side by the score of 5-0. The Redsea boys youth squad scored 9 goals alone against one team while the team played more games against Eritrean premier teams and scored 14 goals all in all. The games were against top teams including Midlawi Migbi (6-2) Adulis,(0-0) Al-Tahrir (defending Eritrean premier league Champions) where they played two games losing one (1-0) and tieing a second (2-2) and in their most exciting game they defeated Mai-Temenai (6-0). Sudan will face Rwanda in the under 17 African nations cup to be played at the end of August as well. Beijing Olympics and Eritrea This year Eritrea will be sending a number of athletes to the Beijing Olympics. The athletes slated to participate in the 29th Olympiad are 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medalist Zersenay Tadese, another former Olympian Yonas Kifle, Yared Asmerom, Tesfahannes Mesfin, Ali Abdela Afringi, Haile Wolday, former Olympian Nebyat Habtemariam, Simret Sultan, Teklemariam Medhin and Kidane Tadese. Cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot, will also be representing Eritrea in the Beijing Olympics. Simret Sultan pictured to the left is carrying Eritrean Flag in Beijing opening ceremony Most of the Eritrea's events in the Olympics will be happening towards the end of the event as Yared Asmerom will be competing in the Marathon where he has ran a time of 2:17:41 in Japan in the past. Yonas Kifle who was rumored to have left the Eritrean team will participate in the Marathon as well.

Zerisenay, Teklemariam, Kidane and Nebyat got to Beijing last Tuesday and were made to fly to a high altitude training area the next day. Reporting from the training area Dr. Tesfaslassie Eyob said that they are all in good condition. EAAA and Yohannes Debesai have confirmed that they spoke with all the runners and coaches. Their spirit is high and are making the highest preparation. In a report released by EAAA, here is what they had to say, The Eritrean runners are humble, a little bit shy and did not say much. Their message was " Ab Awet Yerakibena !". Coach Levingston and coach Abebe Zerihun are with the team that is about three hours flight away from Beijing and have confidence in the runners and the tactic they are going to use. Hais Wolday, who is going to take part in the 1500m race, has left the high altitude training for Beijing. Coach Levingston has accompanied Hais for the three hour flight to Beijing while coach Abebe stayed behaind with the rest of the team. Hais is running the 1500m second heat at 19:19 Beijing time On Friday the 15th of August( 07:19am Washington, DC time). Zerisenay, Teklemariam, Kidane and Nebyat are going to leave the training area and fly to Beijing after two days. Nebyat is running the marathon at 07:30 am on Sunday Beijing time ( Saturday 7:30pm DC time.) Zerisenay, Teklemariam and Kidane are running the 10000m on Sunday at 22:45 Beijing time ( 10:30am Washington, DC time) Rustom Fessehatsion, Journalist for the Olympic team, has said : " The runners are in a good mood. The Eritrean embassy in China and the Olympic team have coordinated the plans very well and things seem to be going well and at the moment we are just waiting for the events to take place." The Eritrean team seem to be well prepared and can outdo some of the the top countries in running when it comes to tactics. Please visit for information about the Olympic team performances. EAAA also invites all Eritreans in the DC metro are to come watch the big race of Zerisenay, Teklemariam and Kidane on Sunday at 10:30am in ECCC- AT 6th and L -Washington- DC. Please join us on Saturday at 7:30pm in cheering Nebyat in the women's marathon. EAAA believe that Eritrea will have good shot at the medal in the 10,000m by Zerisenay and in the marathon by Yonas Kifle or Yared Asmerom. The future great runners namely Teklemariam and Kidane are expected to perform well in the 10000 meters and dance with Zerisenay in the Beijing stadium. Zeresnay's support from the two runners should make a big difference in his performance. Good luck to Eritrea.

Thomas Kelati Update. (Picture above: Thomas giving high fives to his Polish fans) Thomas Kelati is currently playing in the summer league of the NBA where he can get a chance to prove himself after a couple of years in Europe. It is a very tough challenge but Thomas has a great ability to overcome. He is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers summer league team a slight change from his former team the Los Angeles Clippers. We will have an update on how he fared once we compile more information on Thomas. Meanwhile here is a nice You tube clip from his European team in Poland where he makes a foul shot and ends up winning the game on a BUZZER Beater. This video is definitley a must see.

Washington D.C Festival 2008 Basketball tournament was awesome. Year after year since the late nineties in Washington D.C during the annual festival a basketball tournament has been taking place and folks it is something to be proud of. Eritrean Basketball teams from throughout North America make their way with their own financial support as they come to participate in an intense basketball tournament. This year was not any different and folks I would like to give Kudos to a couple of people who have worked hard to keep this special event going on each year. With excellent preparations and also a few volunteers from each team, Tesfu Mezgebe, Diliet Sium and Fitsum Asefaw have been able to put together a basketball event that includes female teams, JV and adult male teams. Here below are three video clips put together by Haile Abraham who has been working on the growth of the basketball tournament since it's early days.

Teams from as far as Seattle, Toronto, Chicago, and many other parts of the U.S have come to participate and they should all be commended. This year while Team Chicago won the JV it was Team Maryland that played excellent ball to defeat DC in the finals. The two women's teams were also very competitive and more Eritrean young ladies and women should be encouraged to participate in all types of sports. For more on results and pictures just click on click on the basketball link. We will keep you update with other sports news until then this is Eri-International sports blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boston Celtics a class act on and off the court

About 4 years ago I started a working relationship with the Boston Celtics a team I did not care much about for years. However since my passion for Athletics/sports is blind and the project offered me an outlook on how the Celtics organization works, I took on the project and took it very seriously knowing that the team and it's PR company depended on my work. As a young man I grew up watching the intense rivalry between my favorite team the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics a team that was incredibly awesome but I did not like at all. For competition sake, instead I preferred another rival the Philadelphia 76ers because of the legendary Dr. J or otherwise known as JULIUS IRVING.

You see Larry Bird and Kevin Mchale, Danny Ainge(current Celtics GM), The Chief otherwise known as Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and the rest of the green (my favorite color) use to get on my nerves as I was an avid fan of the greatest center to play the game Kareem Abdul Jabar, and the most sophisticated basketball guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson alongside of Michael COOOOOOPER, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, Jamal Willkes, Norm nixon and "BYYYYRON SCOTT" just to name a few.
Picture above:With Tony Allen of the Celtics

OH those were the days! Then one of my favorite players gets drafted by the very same Celtics and the day after the draft he dies of drug overdose. I recall when he died my younger brother an Avid Celtics fan came into the room to tell me that Len Bias my favorite college basketball player of all time has died and will not be playing for the Boston Celtics. I could not believe it. I thought I was going to turn into a Celtics fan because of that moment but once the University of Maryland star died, I changed my mind and continued to be an even bigger fan of the Los Angeles Lakers thinking that may be if Lenny was drafted by another team he would still be alive.
Picture Below:With Brian Scalabrine

As I went through a long & tough journey of becoming a broadcast journalist and covering sports of all kinds and including the NBA, I have never once had a moment when I thought the Boston Celtics would have a place in my heart. I saw them many times while covering the Washington Bullets/now Wizards and still never cared much for them. Even when I became a regular stringer for WBZ-TV 4 in Boston whom I really liked, I was still loyal to my Washington D.C area metro teams and the Los Angeles Lakers. Then one day "POP" I was told that the Celtics would be coming to town (Nation's Capital) with some youth to meet with congress people and also visit Washington DC. I was sent on that assignment to cover the event and ever since then I have developed this relationship which I find to be unique.

The Boston Celtics organization have been nothing but absolutely fabulous even though they were not doing so well in the past few years. Then enter Kevin Garnett and other great players. A former star player that I did not care for became the GM (Danny Ainge) and started to lead the team on the right path.

I thought for sure that now that the Celtics are NBA contenders they are going to be big time and they probably will forget about me. I was almost sure that they would go to someone else to do the job that I was doing for them. Then when they were up 3-2 in the series, I get an e-mail saying that the gig will happen and that they still would like for me to do the project that I have been doing for them for the past 4 years. I was shocked and I must say that I felt so much respect towards a team that I did not care for while growing up.
Below: with Senator John Kerry

May be because I admired Len Bias so much the Karma was paying me back. My brother was excited as well and on June 25Th, 2008 I spent a couple of hours with the World Champions and life went on as usual. To the Celtics players, team officials as well as other members of the organization and I would like to say, thank you for being a "Class Act".

I also would like to mention in the past it was Senator Edward Kennedy that regularly attended the event and put joy and happiness to the young visitors from Boston and I hope Senator Kennedy will fully recover soon and join this year's special guest former Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry who was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.

The State of Massachusetts and the Boston Celtics organization have become a friend and I will always have a special place in my heart for them as a sports fan and broadcast journalist. It is a blast being able to follow world champions from Massachusetts as I did the same in the past with Super Bowl champs the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. As an Eritrean-American it even makes me feel good to know one of the cities that always welcomed Eritreans during the struggle years for independence from Ethiopia Boston has played a role in helping to create a strong Eritrean Community in North America and continues to this day to build a strong and dynamic Eritrean community.

"Class act indeed"

Eri-International sports

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eritreans and College Soccer, The Untold story.

Eritreans and College Soccer, The Untold story.

There may be many outstanding Eritrean soccer players participating at the University and college levels, semi-pro and even professionals such as Henok Goitom who plays in the Spanish first division however the story that is about to be unfolded will focus on the success of Eritreans throughout the USA that have contributed to the growth of the college and proffesional game at every level. There are plenty of people who may not know that the college game in the US has produced some top notch Eritrean soccer players and exemplary citizens. It is also slowly becoming a farm system that helps the United States national team to become a contender in the international game.

(Picture)Amdemichael Selassie who has been a part of the Eritrean sports festival and active member of the Eritrean community in the metro DC holds a an NCAA national championship award.

Just a brief introduction of the history of the game at the college level, in 1933 The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), governing body of college athletics in the United States, released their official rulebook covering all intercollegiate soccer in the United States. Five years later in 1938 West Chester State College from Pennsylvania a state the size of Eritrea and Salisbury College from the bordering state Maryland played in the first intercollegiate soccer game under floodlights. Around the same time The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) was organized by 10 coaches attending the annual meeting of the intercollegiate Soccer Football Association of America in New York. In 1959 the first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics college championship was held in Slippery Rock, PA.

Pratt Institute was victorious over Elizabethtown College 4-3 both very small colleges. Meanwhile the first NCAA championship tournament was held in Storrs, CT. as St. Louis University defeated Bridgeport University 5-2. While the NAIA focused on smaller colleges the NCAA dealt mainly with bigger colleges and Universities. Eventually as more schools of higher education started to grow, even the NCAA had to create three divisions in all of its collegiate athletic competition. While it does not apply to the game of soccer at the collegiate level, currently the NCAA division one has even gone into creating a division one double a portion mainly for the American football game.

So how do Eritreans fit into this picture? Well based on first hand knowledge and some research and phone interviews we have come up with an incredible result. You see, the role played by Eritreans at the college level and the contribution to the game by Eritreans has lead us to some information that includes amazing achievements. It was in the late 60's and 70's and many young students as well as soccer players were arriving to the United States to pursue education from Eritrea and the horn of Africa region. Since Eritrea was under Ethiopian occupation most of these athletes were illegally acknowledged as Ethiopians until of course the year 1991 when Eritrea proved that it is a sovereign country. Add to that the racism that took place in many parts of the United States against blacks and minorities the obstacles faced were many.

With that in mind we will start of with the story of a National Championship player from that era. He was also a big star as a goal keeper for club Electric in Ethiopia before he made his move to the United States. A very strong figure Amdemichael Selassie who has been a part of the Eritrean sports festival for years as well as an active member of the Eritrean community in the metro DC area is the only player we have been to allocate as a member of a national championship NCAA division 1school. Andat as his friend’s call him played in goal for the 1974 Howard University Bisons that won a national championship against the University of St.Louis. Howard defeated St. Louis 3-2. However, Howard's participation in the tournament was later vacated by the NCAA, and the championship reverted to St. Louis. Just a year before in 1970 Howard University played against UCLA in the semi finals of the NCAA division where another Eritrean played for UCLA.

His name is Berhane Andeberhan and most of you have never heard of him. Andeberhan, who has served as an assistant coach and technical adviser to the Cornell University women's soccer team for over7 years while pursuing a Ph.D. in food science, was the director of soccer and women's head coach at Stanford from 1987 to 1992. He guided the Cardinal women to a 77-26-11 record, including an outstanding 49-7-2 slate his final three years. In each of those three seasons, Stanford played in the NCAA playoffs, making the quarterfinals in 1991 and 1992. Following his coaching tenure in Palo Alto, Andeberhan served as Stanford's liaison to World Cup 1994. A member of the U.S. Soccer Federation national staff since 1976, Andeberhan has served as national coach for the under-20 women's team, a youth and senior regional coach, an Olympic Festival coach and an Olympic development coach. He was a member of the technical staff sent by the U.S. Soccer Federation to the first Women's World Cup in China in 1991. He is also a member of the U.S. Soccer Coaches Organization and National Soccer Coaches Association of America.Prior to coaching at Stanford, Andeberhan was the men's soccer coach at Cal State-Los Angeles for six years and was inducted into the Golden Eagles' athletic hall of fame on Feb. 2 of this year.

In 1981 his team finished with a 20-3 record and reached the NCAA Division II championship game. He was named the Met Life Far West Coach of the Year in 1981 and earned conference coach of the year accolades five times. After Cal State-Los Angeles moved to NCAA Division I in 1985, Andeberhan led the team to a 12-4-1 record, an NCAA tournament appearance and a top 20 national ranking. The Golden Eagles won two conference championships and posted a 74-34-14 record during his tenure. In 1984 he was director at the soccer and team handballtraining sites for the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.Coach Andeberhan attended UCLA on an academic scholarship where he earned his BA degree in Zoology and was a member of the first ever Bruin varsity team and he served as captain of the team in 1971 when the team was an NCAA finalist. He holds an MS in Microbiology from Loma Linda University and is a Ph. D. candidate in Food Science at Cornell University. In addition to coaching he has taught collegiate Microbiology at Cal State Los Angeles and was a Research Specialist at Cornell University. In soccer he holds a Brazilian ABTF International Professional Coaching License and the US Soccer A License and has attended numerous national and international seminars.

He has been a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for 26 years. Coach Andeberhan currently resides in Sacramento, California where he is director of the Capital Athletic soccer academy. He has also played a big role in the history making woman's soccer national teams of the US as well as some US men's national team members. Former U.S. Men's National Team member Martin Vasquez and professional players Carlos Juarez and Larry Draluk are just some of the top male players Anderberhan has developed. Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Shannon Higgins and Brandi Chastain are among the many WNT players he has coached. He is currently trying to build a non-profit organization along side a friend by the name of Berhane to provide soccer balls to Eritrean youth. He plans to make the noble cause a bigger picture and indeed it is an honor to discover an Eritrean-American with such a great career and who is planning to help the game grow in both Eritrea and America. For more on his project just visit the website by clicking on the following While this has been a very timely and important information we would like now like to proceed with more on those who have accomplished a successful collegiate career in the United States.

Yes! He won the George Levin Memorial award given to the best soccer player at his college a private college in the State of Maine. Former Ambassador Girma Asmerom who to this day holds several scoring and assist records at Bowdoin College ranks as one of the top players of his time where he scored 32 goals in just three years of playing. Ambassador Girma went on to get a masters degree in international studies from American University in Washington D.C while he was an assistant coach for Federal City College currently known as UDC (University of the District of Columbia). Ambassador Girma eventually went back to help the Eritrean fight for independence where he eventually came back to be an ambassador. He is currently the Eritrean ambassador to the European Union.Talking about Federal City College now known as UDC, there were more than 6 Eritrean players who played for the final four NCAA Division two championship Semi finalist team in 1974. Eritreans were all over the place in the 70's and many young people don't seem to have any idea, I hope this well documented research can serve as an inspiration to all our future stars.

We now focus on some of the new comers and some recent players. I the mid to late 80's I along with my brother played in one of the most competitive leagues in the country for smaller colleges in the state of South Carolina. Francis Marion University is now an NCAA division 2 school and was ranked number 1 in the nation recently. It was even a pleasure to have taken the Washington D.C Eritrean team for an 8 hour drive to play a friendly game against my Alma matter at a time they were ranked # 1 in the country for more than four weeks and finished in the NCAA top 8. The DC team without any rest lost a close game 3-1.

In the mid 1990's Johannes Habtegaber also one of the best players to play for the University of Maryland showed that college soccer can take you far. He won a championship with Team DC in the 1991 version of the ERSFNA and then went on to help Team Alexandria win 4 more championships making him one of the few individuals to have accomplished that feat. Current notable youngsters that are playing or just finished playing include ERSFNA MVP player Araya Berhane who won a championship with Team Worira last year by showing some excellence.

Habtom Haileab is one of the most dangerous offensive threats in both the Peach Belt Conference and in the nation. A playmaker in the Clayton State University Lakers midfield that distributes the ball effectively with great speed and quickness he has become a threat to score each time he touches the ball. A legitimate All-Peach Belt Conference & All-Southeast Region. Despite playing with a broken hand, Hailab Habtom recorded a hat trick to lead Clayton State University to a 5-1 win over Francis Marion University, two seasons ago on Tuesday evening (Oct. 24) in a quarterfinal match of the 2006 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Tournament. Who would have thought another Eritrean would make my alma mater look so bad many years later? It's all good, no hard feelings (ha! ha!).

Also from a coaching stand point we have found one more person following in the footsteps of legendary coach Berhane Andeberhan in the State of Washington. Biniam Afenegus, Greater Saint Helen's League (GSHL) Class 3A coach of the year, has been named the new men's soccer coach at Clark College in Spokane Washington. Afenegus has spent the last nine years coaching for high schools and premier club teams in the region. Biniam was born in Eritrea. His family relocated to Spokane, WA when he was a child. He attended Concordia University from 1995 to 1999 where he completed his bachelor's degree in K-12 Physical Education and Health. He earned his master's degree in education from Concordia University in 2003. While playing soccer at Concordia, Afenegus earned all league and all regional honors. He currently holds a United States Soccer Federation National "C" license.

We will have more information on more college soccer players present and past in the very near future and when all this is said and done the aim and goal of the Eritrean Sports federation in North America Public Relations dept. is to work on a College bank of players that have accomplished a lot at the college game be it coaching or playing, eventually the plan will also lead towards other sports. Here below we will go list by list with names of Eritrean players past, present and if there are people forgotten or our research has not allowed us to include you please feel free to contact the ERSFNA Public Relations officer who has been a passionate advocate of college soccer and would like to see more young Eritreans showing that they are good role model citizens.

Mike Seium Public Relations officer can be contacted by e-mail: or

List of college players so far gathered. (P.S contact us if you wish to be added to the list)

1. Amdemichael Slassie/ Howard Univ. 1971 national Championship NCAA Div 1

2. Berhane Andeberhan/ UCLA 1970 NCAA Finalist NCAA Div 1

3. Yemane Tewolde/ Federal City College (UDC) Final 4, 1974 NCAA Div.2

4. Gedlom Afa/Federal City College (UDC) Final four team 1974 NCAA Div. 2

5. Johannes Habtegaber/University of Maryland College Park 1990's NCAA Div 1

6. Michael Seium/ Francis Marion University late 80's NAIA/NCAA Div. 2

7. Samuel Seium/ Francis Marion University late 80's NAIA/NCAA Div. 2

8. Aklilu Seium/ Frostburg State University late 90's ( NCAA Div. 3

9. Girma Asmerom/Bowdoin College, Maine early 70's NCAA Div. 3

10.Simone Mariotti /King College Charlotte, NC (NAIA)

11. Daniel Berhane/University of Central Florida mid 2000 NCAA Div. 1

12. Zegai Habtom/University of Central Florida mid 2000 NCAA Div. 1

13. Berhane Habtemariam/Federal City (UDC) 1974 NCAA Div. 2

14. Yemane Yohannes/Federal City (UDC) 1974 NCAA Div.2

15. Bereket Tseggai/Queens University Charlotte early 1990s.

16. Mussie Manna/Alabam A & M Early 1990's

Mike Seium

Eri-International sports

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thomas Kelati succesful in Europe

If PGE Turow Zgorzelec the best proffesional basketball team in Poland can be called the most pleasant surprise of the ULEB (Union League of European Basketball) Cup season, a main reason for its success is another surprise, Thomas Kelati, the only elite pro player who carries the passport of the African nation of Eritrea. Kelati was born in the United States shortly after his parents escaped war in Eritrea.

Following a successful university career, Kelati debuted as a pro in Europe two seasons ago, helping Dexia Mons-Hainaut take the Belgian Cup in 2006. Kelati's very next stop was Zgorzelec, and his impact last season was immediate. He led Turow to reach its first-ever Polish League final while being given plenty credit for the turnaround as the team's best scorer and top defender. In the ULEB Cup this season, Kelati has done nothing but prove his quality again, ranking second on the team in scoring while leading one of the competition's top defenses to a place few thought Turow could reach, the Final Eight. Already the pride of basketball fans in one entire country, Kelati attempted to help lift Poland to its highest step on the European stage onThursday, March 20, 2008 but came up short as his team lost to a strong Russian Side.

Kelati finished his wondeful season for Turow in ULEB CUP as Dynamo Moscow overcame Polish Turow Zgorzelec and did not allow them to advance to the next round. The Russian squad took control from the early beginning and won the game by the score of 78-63. Henry Domercant led the winners with 22 points. Milos Vujanic nailed 16 points, while Robertas Javtokas scored 15.

Even though David Logan was the top-scorer for Turow with 19 points, Thomas Kelati netted 15 and showed that he can still contribute against tough opponents. Henry Domercant not only was the top-scorer for the winners, but he also set up a new ULEB Cup elimination rounds record for more shots from downtown three point range without a miss. He nailed six out of six three-pointers. Vujanic capped a 7-0 Dynamo run but Thomas Kelati answered with a long jumper to keep Turow in the game. Robertas Javtokas helped Dynamo to stay ahead 25-17 in the opening quarter. It was again Thomas Kelati who tied the score at 25-25 as his team Turow enjoyed a 10-0 run for a 27-25 advantage. Vujanic drove a last minute layup to help Dynamo's halftime advantage at 43-38. The Third quarter became the decisive in the game as Dynamo started to increase their numbers. Robertas Javtokas spurted Dynamo's run by14 points and with the score 59-45 Thomas Kelati tried to ignite a Turow comeback but Kelati and Turow fell short as they lost the game by the score of 78-63 in what was a spectacular season for the Polish side.
Mike Seium
Eri-International sports