Wednesday, July 14, 2010

25 years later ERSFNA in Atlanta.

     When they gathered 25 years ago in the city of Atlanta, some of the youth participating in this year's annual event were not even born. However the founders of this event were planning for the future and the future has arrived. Hopefully today’s youth and adults will do the same for the future generation ahead just like what the founders did for us. Meanwhile with one guest team (London) from Europe this year the tournament began with a total of 18 teams participating in three different facilities. The only thing hotter than the competition was the sweltering heat of Georgia on a July afternoon. For the most part the games were very competitive with the exception of a handful games that had very high scoring numbers.

     The 8 teams that made it to the quarterfinals were Team Baltimore, Minnesota Red Sea, Atlanta Selam, San Francisco Dahlak, Seattle Adulis, Washington D.C , Team London,  and Team Dallas, making the second round very exciting. In the end the four teams left were a very surprising Minnesota Red Sea formerly known as Biddho, the host and home team Atlanta and an awesome Baltimore team facing a solid San Francisco squad.  After a last minute goal, Team Baltimore advanced to the finals for the first time ever in it’s history. Ironically the team was created 18 years ago in 1992 when the tournament was hosted in Atlanta for the second time. Meanwhile Team Atlanta playing some great soccer was leading Minnesota 3-0 after about 55 minutes into the game when Mother Nature forced the game to be stopped according to FIFA rules. The game had to be replayed in its entirety the next morning at which point Atlanta could not keep up with a solid physically fit Minnesota team. Minnesota advanced to the finals for the first time in their history as well. 

     In the final game a very strong Baltimore team overcame and defeated the Red Sea of Minnesota by the score of 2-0 to claim the historic edition of the 25th annual ERSFNA sports festival trophy. Munir Ahmed who has played for Washington D.C & Virginia in the past claimed the MVP as he clearly displayed some great talent in helping his team win the championship. Meanwhile the venues for this year’s event were excellent, locations were very easy to get from and to. The hotels were excellent and there was a great turnout locally and from away places. This year was truly a year to remember and the host committee as well as the ERSFNA board should be commended for preparing a positive and good tournament over all.

The Champions Team Baltimore:

     As one of four coaches and administrator of TEAM Baltimore, it gives me great pride to finally see this team win through sheer determination, hard work and a long wait. It was as a result of team effort from players, coaches and supporters that Baltimore was able to bring the cup home. Coach Solomon Allora who has been a good friend along with other team consultants have done an outstanding job in keeping the team together and attending this event for a long time and also making it to the quarterfinals so many times. The MVP player Munir Ahmed grew up with the D.C, Baltimore, Alexandria, & Virginia teams all around him. It is great to note that all 4 teams have now won the championships Alexandria winning it five times, D.C three times, Virginia two times and Baltimore for the first time, giving the Metro DC area teams eleven of the twenty five championships that have taken place. Congratulations goes out to team Baltimore. Please see a tribute picture video clip link from you tube below.

Youth Soccer:

I would like to commend the ERSFNA board but most importantly Mr. Berhane Ghebregziabher for his outstanding dedication to the youth program, which was vigorously pushed for in Minnesota 2005 for turning this event into a top priority as it grew to an incredible 26 teams from throughout the country. The games were all exciting and the kids were very happy in the end. The event brought many people together and instilled in the young people that their culture, friendship with their brothers and sisters, as well as spending one week of sports through love and unity will forever be imbedded in their minds. Teams from Washington DC, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston and the group with a very high number of youth players Minnesota should all be proud of their accomplishments whether they won or lost. Congratulations on a job well done and hope to see this event grow bigger. I also would like to say the girls under 15 game between Atlanta and Minnesota was historic, hope other cities in the near future will establish girls & Women’s teams.

ERSFNA Elections:

As promised last year the ERSFNA board members elected new appointees and those who served for the past three years have now been replaced. The election process was acceptable even though it could have been done better. However what I must say is this year participation of teams was almost 90% and I believe that was a crucial moment in making the transition happen. It is important to keep hammering home that all teams participating in the tournament have their administrative coaches attend the meetings. In the end capable board members were selected for every position. We wish them all good luck , I also want to emphasize that the past board members did a good job in preparing this year's event and leave us on a high note, we hope the new members will challenge them to host another great event next year.


As the number of basketball players grow each year, this year’s event was a big success. The facilities were very good and the results will be posted on the ERSFNA website. I would like to congratulate Asmerom from London for working hard to make sure this event was run properly and smoothly.

Seniors Game:

In the senior's game otherwise known oldies but goldies Team Washington D.C defeated the host team Atlanta by the score of 7-3 in what turned out to be a fun game. This was a good game despite the final outcome. Atlanta started to make a comeback but two late goals from Andehaimanot Asiel put the game away for the DC team.


The entertainment was very good in Atlanta throughout the week. There were many events prepared each night for fans and guests who came to be with their people.  However the last night gala or should I say Guyla was held at the Atlanta Trade Center featuring Sami Berhane, Wodi Zagr (Mulugeta Beyin) Teame Woldemichael and other Eritrean artists. It was a successful event over all. I also would like to say that the Thursday night event that was held at the Club Velvet was unique in a way I have never seen before. As you walk into the club you see flat screens with graphics showing the beautiful Eritrean colors, but what I found to be unique was that the place was packed with people, older, younger, mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers in a setting that one would never imagine, a night club setting. But again that’s what makes us Eritreans unique, when we are together united we are special. At the end of the day any attempts to disrupt the Eritrean Unity never works and the results this year clearly indicated that sports and culture are a big part of our lives and so to those visionaries who started this event 25 years ago, I salute you.

Congratulations to all!

The writer of this blog is a former public Relations officer for ERSFNA and part of the 2010 Eritrean Sports Festival men's Soccer champions Team Baltimore.

Mike Seium

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