Observations: The Red Sea Boyz "Camels" ..........(1st game for Russia 2018)
So all of a sudden we have thousands and thousands of people packing the stadium at Chichero in Asmara to see a team that was quickly assembled to make up Eritrea's national team that took on Botswana for the 2018 World cup qualifying round. Before the game we saw fans and dignitaries on ERI-TV's Live coverage(will get back to that later) and the feeling was one of joy and happiness as Eritrea starts its journey in what I believe will be a great future for the Red Sea Boyz. In order to understand the process in which this year's team was assembled most of us already know the story of our recent past.
For almost 4 years now Eritrea did not participate in any world cup or any other international, continental or even regional events much if not at all. Former player turned coach Negash Teklit did what most people would have had a tough time doing as he continued to build a team after each defection that tarnished the image of the nation. Even the local league in Eritrea started to decline in terms of competition as well as attracting fans. A politically motivated vendetta against Eritrea reached in the social fabric of its society which was meant to help create problems within the country. It failed even though it may have affected the soccer program negatively. However, Eritrea always comes back stronger and with a new coach a very humble Almeseged Ephrem who once represented Eritrea's national team the quality of play was not bad at all. Here are some points I have taken from observing the game and the team through TV.
Game analysis: Eri-International sports
1. Great fans in Asmara along with dignitaries and the average public. Flags everywhere and it seemed like a very nice atmosphere.
2. Great looking uniforms. Hope to see them in different colors as well. I am talking about the blue colors with the Eritrean flag stripes on the side. You can do this with the three other colors as well.
3. Great teamwork considering these guys were put together in a short time. Henok Goitom did well and adjusted to the team. His near miss early in the game may have changed the outcome of the game. He took on the leadership role very well. He has been picked as a captain ahead of the game.
4. Middle defense was a bit weak as coach Alemseged said in an interview with ERI-TV last week. However I commend Senai Berhane from Sweden for filling the gap and doing a decent job. Goal Keeper Isaias Hailegergish was very active and seemed ready despite the two goals he gave up. Impressive play from a very skillful midfielder Yonas Solomon (Saudi Arabia) who I thought did a good job along with Samyomi Alexander (Sudan) who showed some flashes of brilliance. Only thing I would like to share is "Avoid" the air balls as the Zebras seemed a bit bigger in size. Especially during corner kicks play low and try different attempts to get a shot out. Meanwhile on defense we must stay alert on corner kicks as they are a bit bigger in size.
5. Never underestimate your opponents and respect to both coaches as they played within their capabilities and provided the fans great sportsmanship. Hope it will continue in Francistown Botswana on Tuesday win or lose. If Eritrea wins by two goals it has a good chance to advance. May be the new facilities in Francistown can work in favor of Eritrea. We hope The Botswana authorities will control their fans.
Other than that, I would like to really commend Eritrean Television for broadcasting the game live and doing an outstanding job at that. Play by play could be a bit better even though Kibreab(sports anchor & host) did all his best. Coach Peter Butler an englishman seems like a very humble person with a wealth of experience and it seems to benefit the Zebras a lot.
Over all the great work that is being done with the sports commision and the ENFF should serve as a classic example of what can be done when Eritreans from all over the world contribute towards the success of our nation. Win or lose Eritrea was a winner yesterday. No media coverage from the west even though the LEADING SCORER in the Swedish League made his first appearance for his parents homeland even though he was born in Sweden.
Game time on Tuesday October 13th, 2015 as Botswana takes on Eritrea in the second game of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2018 Russia match.
Venue: Francistown New Stadium
Eri-International sports will let you know if the game will be televised live. Stay tuned and remember win or lose TEAM ERITREA is a winner.